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Mom Vs Dad: Don’t Confuse The Child

Different parenting styles and conflicting opinions of parents often make the child grow up with blurred set of ideologies. The result could be a shy, under confident, withdrawn child or a rebellious one.

Good parent, bad parent
Kanika Malhotra had been a very strict mother to her 11-year-old daughter Tanya who was often at the receiving end of her mother’s volatile temperament. From keeping her toys in place to tidying up the room, it was a strict regimen that Tanya had to follow even as a child. However, she took solace in her father’s pampering ways.

But now, Kanika is a worried mother as Tanya is giving her sleepless nights with her rebellious ways. Experts attribute Tanya’s behaviour pattern to the inconsistency in her parents’ messages. “Though the mother was trying to get the best out of her daughter by being strict with her, it boomeranged as a result of the father’s lenient ways. Consequently, the girl grew up to disliking her mother, turned disobedient and errant. Dysfunctional parenting methods are only destructive for the child. Parents must be on common ground before taking any decision related to the child,” says Dr Anika Arora, a clinical psychologist.

Marital discord and childhood
At times it’s parents’ personal disputes and marital discord that impair child’s mental growth. Marketing personnel Raj Mathur has never been a responsible father or caring husband. Hence, it was always his wife Shalu who had to take charge of all family responsibilities – taking care of her children herself included. However, Raj’s abusive nature and bad temperament would always give baffling signals to their children – 6 and 9-years-old. If Shalu asked her children to study for exams, Raj would instead offer to take them out for a movie. And then there would begin a fight between the parents. Perturbed by their never-ending disputes, Shalu planned to send her kids to boarding. Raj instead poisoned their children’s mind against their mother saying that “mom doesn’t love you both anymore and wants to send you to a boarding. She wants her freedom back.” As expected, her children have since started hating Shalu.

When one is in charge

Putting one parent in charge also creates a wedge in the parent- child relationship. “While our mother was overprotective, my dad was never there for us. Busy with his business and official tours, dad hardly knew what was going on in our lives. While as mom had to know and control each and every move of ours. We used to feel suffocated. Neither mom nor dad was friendly. There was no one to actually guide us,” say siblings Urvashi and Sashi Kapoor.

Ankur Doxit is yet another case in point. His aggressive and violent nature has become a point of discussion among teachers and his peer group. It was due to his over-demanding father and a submissive mother that he grew up to have a belligerent nature. “In this case, parenting from mother’s side was missing and the father was extremely dominating. The boy was totally dependent on the father for everything and he started compensating for his mother’s submissive nature by turning aggressive,” says Dr Vipul Singh, a child psychoanalyst. He warns that in some cases, children use it as a ploy to manipulate one parent who has a lenient approach.

And what happens when a child is sandwiched between an overprotective dad and a mom who goes a little easy on him? The result would be a confused, vulnerable and insecure kid, low on confidence, say experts.

So blame it on nuclear families or information overload on parenting techniques easily available online, present-day parents are only getting confused about the ideal way of bringing up a child. Whatever be the reason, it’s important for couples to spend time with each other for better understanding and communication. Try and take common decisions. It’s a good idea to make children be a part of decision- making. This will make them more responsible.

Also, never counter your partner’s statement or act before your kids. If one is scolding, let the other person be quiet. Discuss the matter later in the child’s absence. Help him grow into an individual who can differentiate between right and wrong in life.

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