Blog 06

Please Counsel My Child!

There are times when I receive calls from parents saying, “Mere bache ko counsel kar do.” “Please counsel my child.” “He/she does not study and is not listening to us.”

Hmm, I usually ask a couple of more questions like, “Can you give me an example?”, “Why do you say that?” The answers to these reveal that actually both the parent and child are not listening to each other!! The parent wants to control the child and the child, often a teenager, is rebelling against this need to control.

So I typically try a gentle suggestion like, “If he is not listening to you, why don’t you as an adult change the way you communicate?” I try to give a very specific and concrete suggestion based on what they share. I must say that about 20 percent of the time, the parent is open to a suggestion or change in perspective. However, the remaining 80 percent withdraw with the feeling, “We wanted you to counsel our child, not suggest changes in us!”

So here is my broad perspective on this matter, which I have learnt over years of study, reflection and personal experience which was often painful for me as a parent and psychologist.

The problem rarely ever lies in one individual, child or parent. The challenge lies in the process, maybe communication or other perspectives that may have lost their relevance over time. And if you as a parent are not willing to seek counsel, then why would your child be willing?

Speaking to a professional is akin to looking in the mirror in terms of your own personal growth. Am sure most of you look in the mirror every day to see if you look ok. Make it a habit to look at the mirror and reflect on how you feel and communicate and behave too.

Make it a habit to see if you are growing, not just greying!!

Yes, a child needs to grow up. Parents need to grow up too!

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