Do you relate to these words??
My child hardly shares anything with me…
He just answers whatever that is asked and then there is a long pause…
We hardly share any experiences…as in we do not connect…our life is more about giving him what he wants during his day to day routine activities..seems transactional…dry without any emotions…
He was not like this in the past…
As time passed by, he is becoming more and more withdrawn and quiet…
I am getting to know him through social media- his Facebook posts and sometimes by checking his snapchat and WhatsApp messages…or sometimes by reading his diaries or notes…
It is very dangerous as I don’t know anything about my child…sometimes I am shocked to read what he writes about himself or rather what he feels about himself
We stay in the same house but like strangers…
I want to help my child but somehow there are so many layers between us which have increased as time has passed by…
Can you please help us?
My child needs help or maybe we as parents need help?
The above statements are very commonly shared with me during most of my consultation sessions. And these are parents of kids who do not have any diagnosis and are neurotypical kids in regular schools.
And I am getting shocked each and every day.
When I ask parents, do you spend time with your child or your teenager?
They say that there is no time as their kids are overscheduled and there is absolutely no time to talk or chat.
There are so many classes and projects and exams and submissions and the list is endless…
Besides, the parents are also busy with their own schedules and getting the time for kids is REALLY difficult.
They say that they somehow manage the daily chores on time which is also VERY stressful as on some days they have to stay back in office to complete deadlines…
When I ask them, why didn’t they take help or work on it in the past when it started happening?
They say that they never thought that this is where they will land up.
Parents usually come to me when their kid’s grades start deteriorating very gradually and then a time comes when the focus, attention, and organization skills are lost.
The prescription that I give to most parents is to give one-hour appointment to your child. A time where you do nothing -no phone or checking notification, no household task, no nothing doing but giving 100% to your child.
And then the parents say that they do so but in that one hour they do not listen to their child but
Teenagers who come to me tell me that
“I just want someone to listen to me. Just LISTEN and not suggest or comment or judge but my parents do not have the time.”
And then slowly and gradually these kids and teenagers stop sharing because they are sick of listening to suggestions and they have no one to listen to.
They then start looking for someone who will listen to them on their WhatsApp, snapchat or Facebook windows (for which they are blamed that the children do not listen and are only on the internet with their phones)
And when someone does LISTEN (listen to listen and not to reply) to them, they are sucked into it because they finally get someone to share things with. But they are finally kids and teenagers and need mentoring from their parents. They get abused or bullied sometimes in their attempt to find people who will listen to them as everyone in the world does not have good intentions.
So actually, the main aim is to give them a listening ear – just listening without gadgets or household chores and listening NOT TO ANSWER
to show that you care and love them – the way they are NOW……….
rather than the way, they will be as you expect them to be.
It is a very small little tip and requires a lot of mindfulness…. because we as parents sometimes get into the compulsive mode of instructing-
Keep your shoes in place…
Did you do your homework…
Any message from teacher…..
Anything to be taken to class tomorrow…
and that is all…..
It just ends there whereas there is so much more. And being their role models, we are moulding them like us.
I do something called “Pearl” and “Thorn” of the day. The pearls collected are the things that really made me feel great and the thorns are the things that really made me feel miserable at the end of the day. The child then does it and our role as a parent is to help them squeeze the juice out of the thorns – there is always a silver lining to everything… so there are messages and learnings that every negative situation and emotions bring into our life.
Our role as parents is to help these little ones in our life decode those messages every time they happen and see them as opportunities for growth and evolution…
So the next time, I talk to my son, I first ask myself
Do I really need to give this instruction to my child?
Do I really need to remind him what I am reminding?
Am I helping him evolve or making him dependent?
Is it really my fear and my anxiety that I am passing on him?
I actually need to relax and be mindful and my child will follow because I am the best role model…. and my child sees me and copies rather than just listen to me…