The parent-child relationship affects us more profoundly than any other relationship of our lives. This relationship forms the foundation for all of our future relationships. It is the source of our earliest awareness about love, intimacy, trust and security. It nourishes us to wholeness and self-assurance. It moulds us into the person that we are today. This parent-child relationship is most definitely established through parenting styles. Perhaps this is why one of the most popular shows currently running on Indian television is ‘Parvarish’, which primarily highlights the issues surrounding parenting. Some of us may find shades of our own parents in the main protagonists of the show. I for one think that my mother’s style of parenting closely resembles that of the character of ‘Sweety Aluwalia’. And not surprisingly, she finds my personality like that of the character of ‘Rocky Singh’ !!! However, the good part is that now at my age ( I am not a teenager anymore) both she and I can laugh over it without turning it into a battle about who is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’.
That brings us to the fact that depending on the environment, style of parenting and age of both the children and parents; children bond and react differently to their parents. They differ in their level of security and attachment. Security refers to a child’s confidence in the caregiver ; the belief that the caregiver will be able to respond and provide for all the emotional and social needs. Yet, many parents face problems while raising their children and fail to comprehend the reason for their difficulties. For this reason it is said that parenting requires constant dedication and effort, change and adaptation. After all, parents are not super beings with powers, just adults who have had children ! So it is a fallacy to assume that parents can never go wrong. As parents we must admit and realize that being an adult does not mean that we have all the expertise or experience required to prevent us from committing mistakes in dealing with our children. Therefore, it’s imperative for parents to analyze their parenting style. Willingness to reflect over our own actions/mistakes, to change and adapt according to the needs and situations of our children (who may appear confused all the time as are still trying to make sense of their life) is the key to better understanding of the problems that we may face with our children as well as to comprehend the difficulties our children might be experiencing .
Parenting style is affected by both the parent’s and children’s temperaments, and it is a reflection and representation of one’s own parents and culture/society. Many parents create their own style from a combination of factors, and this may later evolve over a period of time changing and adapting in accordance to the developing personalities of their children, as they move through life’s stages. Most of us struggle to make sense of our parents and fail to realize that our parents are also trying to do the same. As a teenager I felt that my parents were possessed by some demon and I am pretty sure that they felt the same about me !!! If I had realized that my parents were struggling to reach out to me (nevertheless in their own way) as much as I was, then the most turbulent period of my life would have seemed less scary. All this changed as I became more independent and less insecure and more self reliant. I became less edgy and more trusting of them. That helped and improved our relationship tremendously. I guess I could talk more openly without the fear of any kind of judgement of being regarded as a failure. If I had known what I know now, my relationship with my parents would have taken a different graph. Nonetheless, it has been more of a learning curve and we both have benefited from it.
I decided to write this piece as lately we, at broken scooter have been getting many queries relating to patent-child bonding issues. Issues which center around the lack of trust, understanding and communication with parents. The message is that problems with parents is an universal issue and happens to all us ( I am a family counsellor and even I face it). However, it improves with time and as you grow older. Both parties have learn to cooperate, be patient and never stop sharing your fear, anxieties and difficulties with each other. In the next article I will focus on how different parenting styles directly affect the personalities of their children and shape them as adults. For now I will leave you all with one advise- If there is a conflict in your relationship that you share with your parents then probably its time to just listen and empathize with each other. It won’t solve your problems but at least neither you nor your parents will feel alienated.
Soumya Mania Ranjan