Times have hugely changed. If we compare the situation of children staying in large joint families in previous times to children of the nuclear set-up of now, we find a huge difference in their mental-makeup. In those times even if one or two adults scolded children or were strict with them, there were many other shoulders on which they could lean on for emotional support, and hence criticism hardly affected. Children were used to criticism and strict behaviors. They considered it to be a normal course of life; more so because there were other children in the household who were being reprimanded too and hence it was okay to get a scolding or two from elders. However, now children stay in nuclear families and there is a scarcity of shoulders who would lend emotional support.
Still the primary responsibility of child-upbringing is the responsibility of a woman. The fathers are busy all the time and hardly have enough time to criticize a child or for that matter lend a shoulder for emotional support. It is the mothers who appear harsh in the process of disciplining kids. It is a natural phenomenon to resort to harsh words when things are required to bring into order. However, children are not mature enough to understand this, they start questioning their mother’s love for them and become depressive and the relationship sometimes gets subtly strained.
There is a research finding by researcher Elana Israel, which she presented to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) – 2021. Her research focuses on the reasons for depression in children. The study highlighted a significant angle that if mothers are going through depression, they are likely to treat their kids more poorly in the context of criticism. Children of such mothers could be more depressed because of the changing moods of the mothers and the abuses they hurl on them unknowingly. The result was outright in putting forward the point that the more depressed the mothers are the more depressed their children.
As a society, we must help mothers and children to be lesser depressed. We do not have to plan a big campaign or something like that but we need to just look around and try to slowly help mothers come out of depression or guide them to visits psychologists so that they can deal with life in such a way that their depression stops affecting them or their family members.
Just as professionals learn the lessons of soft skills to better their career and that qualifications are not enough. Mothers should also participate in discussion forums etc. to understand that being a biological mother is not enough, having love for the child in the heart is not enough. It is required to learn the soft skills of dealing with children and to not hurt their innocent hearts and impressionable minds because if a bad memory gets created, it remains life-long and might strain relationships later on.
These are the times of webinars. There can be more and more webinars on effective parenting skills and good communication skills so that the children get the happy childhood that they deserve. There should be webinars with both parents because fathers have equal responsibility towards the emotional health of children and also because fathers should take care of the emotional health of their wives as well. Parents should be guided to understand the depressive signs of their kids and work upon a remedy to bridge the gap. Otherwise their kids might mature into depressive human beings.
The purpose of this article is in no way to undermine the significance of teaching discipline to children. The only purpose is to drive in the point that since more and more kids especially in urban areas are staying in nuclear set-ups, they do not have a shoulder to lean on for emotional support unlike the previous times. Their emotional health needs to be taken care without compromising on the need of developing good manners and discipline in them.