By Anna-Maria Mora, Counselling Psychologist
The pandemic and close living situations for parents and their children may have revealed gaps in the parent/child relationship. Counselling Psychologist Anna Maria Mora talks about solutions to overcome tensions that may have arisen.
What has the pandemic revealed about relations between parents and children?
Pre-p pandemic, parents were very busy making a living. There was the hustle and bustle, stress from intense traffic jams both to and from work. Most children, those who are able to express themselves, and adolescents complain their home life is just full of orders.
“Hurry up. I cannot be late for work.”
“Help your little sister/brother.”
“Pack the lunches for tomorrow. I am tired.”
“Hurry up with your homework.”
“Do not stay long in the shower.”
What are children saying about interactions with their parents?
Here are some questions adolescents ask. These questions came out of a Personal Development Programme, I did with a group of male and female Fifth Formers who were getting ready for graduation and going out to face the world.
· Why do parents hate their children?
· Why do some parents feel that they must compete with their children? It is as if they cannot handle getting old?
· Why is a father so controlling?
· Why do people marry, have children and then divorce?
· Why do parents apply all their frustration on their children rather than apply it to the persons who upset them? (There were many more questions.)
The relationship between many parents and their children was not one of cooperation, patience, and positive, empathic communication. However, the saving grace for parents was that they were at work and children were in school. Many children were dropped off at school as early as 6 a.m., sometimes earlier, because parents have to face unending traffic to get to work.
One of the issues which impact on parents and their children generally is that many people do not plan for their children. Physical, sexual attraction and pregnancy are still the popular reasons for getting married. I know a few young people who are planning their lives. They did not get married until they completed their post-graduate education and found lucrative employment, built their house and then made it a home for the family. Then they agreed mutually to begin their families.
With couples getting together without planning, the emotional and spiritual connection to their children are lacking. Parents do not take the time to learn about children and their needs. We hear some parents talking about missing some of the stages of their children’s growth and when it is time for secondary school, lamenting that they missed so much of their “growing up ”. Relating now to the adolescent is a huge problem. Adolescents say: “My parents do not know me.”
Putting parents who have no idea who their children are, together in a house where they only come together to sleep at nights can be an intense problem.
Now this pandemic and the protocols which force persons to stay inside , s ocially distance , attend o online/virtual school , and parents working from home, have cut deeply and exposed the serious problems which plague our homes.
When parents are asked to reach out to their children, you hear them saying: “He/s he is the one with the problem, he/she has to come to me. He/she is the child. He/she is disrespectful. I ask: “Who is the adult here?”. We adults came into this world before these children. From whom are these children to learn what it takes to create successful relationships?