Science proves that children who are brought up in a very authoritarian way, end up having low self-esteem, resort to bullying, can even fall prey to depression. Many also suffer from weight issues and struggle to regulate themselves.
A mental health counselor once asked tweens to write a line they’d like to write to their parents. She asked them not to mention common things, but what they would like their parents to know about them. Some of the answers were
i’m trying really hard
Please don’t scold me so much
I wish you would listen to me too sometimes
I get scared when you yell at me
please stop harassing
Many parents then showed these answers and their reactions were rather shocking. Some of them said, “They’re preparing their child for the big bad world,” others said, “They push children for their own good. Mom of two, Smita Arora shares, “We were all raised in a strict environment where we were expected to do what our parents expected and challenging them was never an option. Our children will become weak if we let them. do and let them choose for themselves!
We all know that teenage suicides are on the rise and that anxiety and depression are increasing to an alarming degree. Peer pressure, social media exposure is enough to make your child feel stressed and anxious, but if they don’t feel emotionally safe in their own home, it can lead to a lot of mental stress and trauma.
On condition of anonymity, a parent whose child is in therapy for depression said: “My daughter was the top scorer. I kept telling her that she made me proud. But then his grades started to drop and I felt like a failure. I started putting pressure on her and telling her that she’s not trying hard enough. She was, but I didn’t see her. Exam period turned into a nightmare for both of us. I turned my bright beautiful daughter into a terrified person. His grades fell again. She started to withdraw, stopped talking to her friends. It was then that we sought help and discovered that she had fallen into depression.
As parents, we are always trying to perfect our children. We want them to excel academically and we also want them to be exceptional in sports, dance or any other extracurricular activity. In the process, we end up smothering them with their free time. Most coaches actually tell parents to back off – they don’t want parents yelling at their kids to play.
A math coach I recently hired for my daughter encouraged her to do better by applauding even small concepts that she understood well. I found it unnecessary at first, but soon saw her enjoying math and finding joy in solving the simplest questions. I soon realized that my nagging wasn’t helping her anyway. She sat down with a book to please me (or calm me down), not because she liked what she was doing.
In short, the effect you have on your children should have more to do with a relationship of trust you share with them than the authority you inflict on them or the times you scold them. Sometimes when you see your child pushing you away, they are actually fighting for space to shape their identity. Giving children choices helps them feel they have some power and control over their lives and is seen as a big step towards becoming a confident and independent person.