How parents unintentionally harm children! | Kalvimalar - News

How parents unintentionally harm children!- 16-Jan-2024

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Parenting is a lifelong adventure. Most parents have the best intentions for their children and want to provide their child with an environment that adds to the overall growth and development of the child. 

However, the ideas of parenthood are often a reflection of people's own unmet needs and wants and a product of their conditioning and the parenting that they have experienced, and sometimes the effect of our conditioning can come in the way of our perception of what kind of parent we want to become.

Some of the ways by which parents can unintentionally harm their children while growing up are:

1. Unhealthy communication: Creating a safe space where a child can feel comfortable talking about difficult things is an important need. 

Many parents think that they communicate with their children, but it often includes judgment and advice. Sometimes all a child needs is a space to be heard. Not being able to express themselves fully or feeling unsafe in sharing their issues leads to a child relying on external ( often harmful ) sources of information like the internet, social media or nonreliable adults, often leading to major issues in a child's life.

2. Labeling: As humans, judging is our nature. We often see adults labeling or stereotyping children as shy, not talkative, hyperactive etc . This should be avoided as it stops the child from exploring their full potential and self-discovery.

3. Negative body image remarks: Most often such remarks come as a joke or a casual statement which is often accepted culturally. But such remarks, especially coming from loved ones, can have a severe impact on mindset and can lead to self-esteem issues and low confidence.

4. Less exposure to diversity: It is only natural for a parent to want their child to follow the culture, religion, and traditions of their ancestors, but non-exposure to other cultures often leads to ideas of isolation, superiority, non-inclusivity, and intolerance. The child must get to experience different cultures and ways people live their lives so they can have a mindset of inclusion and be kind and tolerant of different cultures.

5. Unrealistic expectations: We all want our kids to thrive but sometimes enrolling a child in multiple activities at a time and expecting good results in all of them is not only counterproductive but also damages the self-esteem and image of the child. Failures are important for anyone to grow, but failing at an age when the child does not have the necessary skills to process the emotions or expectations imposed by the parents often leads to long-term trauma.

6. Lack of privacy: We must be involved with our children and know what they are going through, but a complete lack of privacy can lead to trust issues and behaviors such as lying or keeping secrets, which in the long term are often unhealthy and can have dire consequences. Giving a healthy space for a child to be able to keep some secrets and them knowing that they can come to you if they are stuck somewhere or have a problem is the healthy way to go.

7. Ignoring mental health issues: Failing to identify mental health issues or learning disabilities or not addressing them and seeking help at the right time sets the child up for unnecessary struggle, trauma, and failures. It is our stigma and fear of judgment from society that stops us from seeking help.

We all think we are doing the best for our child, but sometimes it is important to spend some time reflecting on what we are doing is what our child needs, and if there is something more that is required. No one knows a child better than their own parents, but parents should try to learn and know what more is needed for their child.

(Author: Dr. Ruhi Satija, Consultant Psychiatrist, Counseling Therapist & Mind transformation mentor, and Founder & MD: Decoding Mental Health)

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