Blog 18

When Parents Discuss Their Children, Does It Become Gossip?

A young girl in her teenage years was very upset as she frequently found her parents and grandparents discussing her behavior and grades.

They thought she didn’t know or could not hear, and they would hush up when she came. She felt very hurt and lonely.

She acknowledged she had scored badly in her exams, she also accepted that she spends a lot of time on Instagram and on the phone.

She enjoys socializing, partying and her parents and family do not approve of any of these behaviors.

They were very worried about her grades and her future. She was too! She did not understand why her high scoring tuition tests did not materialize into high scores in the school exams!!

It wasn’t like this always, she used to fare well in academics in primary school. However, two years of middle school in the online format and she was a very distracted student. Now she finds it hard to study on her own, finds the subjects harder than before.

Her mother and grandmother are very worried about her. She feels under the scanner, regarding her clothes, her style, makeup, who she talks to on the phone, whom she messages, which parties she attends etc. All of this is safely packaged under the umbrella of, “we are worried about your safety”. The girl is suffocated and feels she will certainly do something scandalous sheerly out of frustration now.

If you have read till now, there is something you can relate to at some level in this article. Ask yourself:

·       Do you discuss your children with others often?

·       Do you change topics when they come and pretend that you were not talking about them?

·       Do you immediately switch to a tantalisingly sweet tone to hide that you were complaining just a second before?

·       When was the last time you had a frank conversation of your worries and fears with your child?

·       When did you look within to see if something about you is triggering their behaviour?

Conversations about children between parents and caretakers is important so you can coordinate and navigate your challenges. Some aspects that can guide these conversations are listed below:

·       Talk to your child first about the aspect that is worrying you in an open manner

·       Discuss the challenge with your spouse or a wiser friend, counsellor as required

·       Reflect and see if you are fuelling your worst fears by your own behaviour and thoughts?

·       Ask your child how you can support and help, what changes do they need?

If you try any or a few of the above with sincerity and concern, the child knows that you care and know how to show it! You will find what methods work for both of you as you try and mould your relationship together.

And yes, parents and caretakers constantly discussing or complaining about their children is gossip and it is vicious. So do watch out for any such habits in yourself, your family and friends.

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