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Kolkata schools nudge parents to seek counselling

Worry over parenting style becoming over-protective and anxiety-ridden in the last two years

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 07.09.22, 06:56 AM
Many schools said they were ‘gently’ asking parents to seek help.

Many schools said they were ‘gently’ asking parents to seek help.

Representational picture

Parents are in need of counselling because their parenting style has become over-protective and anxiety-ridden in the last two years, said teachers and mental health professionals.

Many schools said they were “gently” asking parents to seek help. One school said they were also following up after making such a request.

In some cases,  expectations from children have become very high, said the head of a school. It is not always easy to communicate to parents that they need counselling.

They have to be told that it is “for the good of the child”.

A 13-year-old girl was taken to a psychiatrist because of complaints of episodes of fainting and a thorough examination did not reveal any problem.

It was found that her entire day was arranged in such a manner by her parents that she had no free time for herself. The parents were asked to seek help.

In another school, a fight between two students snowballed and the father of one of the children hit the other student.

“When we see parents mishandling a situation we suggest counselling to them. We do come across some parents prone to violent behaviour,” said Amita Prasad, director, Indus Valley World School.

Schools advise counselling only when they feel the parents’ behaviour is impacting the child. The problems are often interrelated and counselling of the parents helps the child.

The last two years have been physically and mentally difficult for parents because they were bringing up the children on their own and many of them ended up breathing down the child’s neck.

Either they are over-protective or they give in so much that they have forgotten how to discipline the child — there is no balance, said teachers.

“More and more parents of younger children are in need of counselling because of their parental approach. There is a section of parents who are hovering over their children at all times or another set who would believe whatever the child says and the child tends to take advantage of that,” said psychiatrist Sanjay Garg. He said that there are parents who are finding it difficult to cope with the transition from online to in-person school.

“Everything confined within the four walls made parents lose out on perspective and they have forgotten that childhood means making mistakes. We suggest counselling only when we find that the child is in distress,” said Sharmila Bose, director of Sushila Birla Girls’ School.

Indrani Sanyal, principal of Delhi Public School Megacity, said that parents need counselling because their expectations from children are “sky high”.

“It does not match with reality,” she said.

In the last two years, the task of bringing up the child was not shared by the school, many parents alleged.

One school head conceded.

“A lot of problems are because parents are not accepting of what the school has to say and are covering up for the child. That makes it difficult for the school,” said Jessica Gomes Surana, principal of Loreto Convent Entally.

The school has decided to hold group counselling, where parents of the middle-school children will be called to have a conversation with teachers and the counsellor.

Last updated on 07.09.22, 06:56 AM
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