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Consider these cases:
A teenager stealing money for mobile phone
A teenager telling lies to hide school notices
A teenager not at all interested in studies
A teenager refusing to go to school
A teenager having an affair
A teenager answering back
A teenager not interested in talking to parents
A teenager lacking goals, concentration and values
A teenager talking about suicide, drugs and alcohol
Do you think all this started just when the child became a teenager OR you think that the foundation of all the above was laid when the child was small. Mostly in my counselling sessions I am asked “are we late to make any difference now”. My answer deep inside my heart is YES. I wish the parents would have raised the alarm when the child first time hid his complaint letter from parents or when the child was reluctant to go to school in early age or when the child was throwing tantrums in social get-togethers to get that extra piece of chocolate or when the child was scared of darkness or when the child was doing wrong things under peer pressure at an early age or when the child was only talking about gadgets and brands or when the child was spending hours in front of the TV or you had to push to the child to learn anything new or………… the list is endless.
I wish parents would have looked for different kind of parenting practice rather than “I know all about my child better” approach. Somewhere our ego is coming in between to seek someone’s advice to make changes in my parenting style. How can somebody advice me to “what should I do with my child”. Mostly parents have their own ideas of their parenting approach and they strongly feel that they are doing best for the child. No doubt your intentions are best, but may be the action is not. My child is alright, doing well in studies – I do not need any counselling sessions. Counselling is seen as a taboo. It is seen as an indication that I am not able to handle my situation hence I need to take advice of others.
I am often asked by parents that – 'when the problem is with the child, why do you want to meet us and not the child?'
The same parents - after talking and reflecting back on their parenting – realized its the way of parenting that needs improvement not the child. Whenever a child is not doing well in school or not behaving the way we want – we think that there is problem “only” with the child. We rarely look into the environment around the child which is created by us as parents. So when the child is not doing well in school – we put the child into tuitions. When the child is not behaving well – we try to make the child behave well by adding punishment as consequences. At the end when nothing works we give up or few look for counsellors. We as parents are clueless. Everybody is following each other without knowing where everybody is heading. We look at our neighbour or friend for solution. We compare the situations – and feel good or bad depending upon how my child is doing.
- Every child goes to various classes – so my child also goes
- Every family goes for vacations – so my family also goes
- Every child gets best of the toys – my child also gets
- And I think – I am doing everything for my child.
Fundamental issue to think at deeper level is that “Is my child also getting best of the manure at home to grow?”
Parenting guidance sessions are not to question you – but to make you reflect and explore different ways. It is to change the way you see and do – not to find any defect in your child or your parenting. Parenting guidance or counselling sessions are not “advising’ sessions. They are exploration sessions. They are “listening” sessions – you talk – counsellor listens.
There is no “right” or “wrong” – hence your soul is guarded, you are not being blamed for your parenting thoughts. All thoughts are welcome. You find a friend who is not judging you, not expecting anything from you – just listening to you. While you talk in a stress free environment – you reflect back and find your own solutions.
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