The Twitter-sphere connects us to people and perspectives from all over the world. This week’s guest blogger is Dr. Sona Kaushal Gupta, a neuro-psychologist and director of the PARI Foundation, in India. She shares her ideas on the parent-child relationship as it pertains to addiction.
Guest Blog by Dr.Sona Kaushal Gupta
Founder Director PARI Foundation.
The role of Parents is very important in a child’s Physical, Mental and Emotional development. The way a Parent nurtures or brings up his/her child is called Parenting. And therein lies the whole story! It is a known fact that no parent can ever think/do bad for his child, but sometimes the communication between them turns nasty and into a conflict or a complete BLOCK. Why is this so? Because the parents either lack good parenting skills of which good communication is an important part or they do/behave as they had seen their parents behave with them, while they were growing up.
As parents, we always think we are doing the best for our child. We tell him to do this and not to do that. Till about he is 8-9 years old he follows us meekly and does exactly what we tell him to do, and that makes us feel so good AND IMPORTANT. We feel happy that our child is behaving so well and is so obedient !
Later, as the children grow up and enter their teens they start reasoning and analyzing situations and people.
They try to figure out WHY they should do this or that, as YOU want them to do, while they themselves want to do something different? You as parent, feel you are losing your control over them and they are being disobedient, so you become more loud and harsh or you become a whining parent, blaming your child for his rudeness! This further aggravates the situation.
While a child is developing his self-esteem he wants to be given regard, he wants his views to be heard and given due importance. But we parents are often so weighed down by our own emotional baggage of our childhood, that we unknowingly pass on our past hurt to our children. We do not accept them as they are, criticize them, scold them and behave rudely or angrily with them. We try to control, compare or compel our children to do exactly what we want them to do! This further lower’s their self-esteem and makes them drift away from us, towards their peers, who never criticize them but accept them as they are!
This is called PEER-PRESSURE, and the child will do anything for his peers, behave and act like them, because he WANTS to be one of them.
It is now that he may follow his peers and drift into addictions and other maladaptive behaviours, to show them that he is as good if no better than them.
Had we realized this as parents, that love and acceptance is what binds us to our children, we would have tried a different and better way of parenting. We need to remember always, that children drift away from us because they feel rejected by our behaviour towards them, and they move towards their peer’s because they find complete acceptance there.
As parents we always tell our children to do this or not to do this, but we never try to tell them WHY they should do so. WHY should he not take drugs? when so many of his friends are taking them? WE RARELY TRY TO ANSWER THE “WHY OR WHY NOT” BECAUSE WE OURSELVES DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE ANSWERS.
Unless the child does not agree COMPLETELY to what he is being told, he will NOT comply.
To bond with your children and guide them in the right direction, away from drugs and alcohol, it is imperative for parents to accept them first, love and appreciate them for who they ARE.
Only then will the children bond and listen to what we want to tell them. Parents need to awaken to this new way of Parenting and Bonding with their children.
So, brush up your parenting skills parents, be a happy stress free parent, learn to accept your children first with all his/her values and problems, love him and empower him to be in high self-esteem. This is the only way your child will respect you and listen to you and will be assertive enough to say ‘no’ to drugs and addictions whenever he is confronted with them.
Dr.Sona Kaushal Gupta
Founder Director PARI Foundation.