A helping hand for the kids

Children today are growing up in a world that’s very different from what their parents remember. This has its advantages — people are better connected and information is easily accessible, but on the other hand, children experience their fair share of problems as well.

Thanks to academic pressure, unrestricted exposure and a variety of lifestyle-related stresses, children today have a lot on their mind. Unfortunately, both because of packed schedules and in part an inability to understand what their child is going through, parents aren’t always able to cope with this — which is why more and more of them are seeking professional help.

In the last few years, the stigma attached to taking a child to a psychiatrist has slowly started to fade. In fact, most counsellors and psychiatrists admit that they’re witnessing a marked increase in the number of parents who bring in their children for a little one-on-one time. “The problems that children face today are very different from what their parents experienced. They experience frustration and sometimes lack of parental support. There are many reasons behind this — children today have limited play areas, eat food that alters their emotions and attend schools that don’t have competent people. They face a lot of emotional stress and academic pressure and don’t always have help or an outlet,” explains Chetana Keni, counsellor and founder of Aurinko Academy.

To an extent, some parents feel that counsellors help their children open up, giving them a better insight into the kind of problems they face. Manjula, who has an eight-year-old son, says, “Some children tend to be reticent and don’t share much with their parents. It isn’t that they’re trying to hide something — it’s just that they aren’t comfortable with opening up too much. In that way, visiting a counsellor helps. They know how to deal with children and take the time to better understand each one. Sometimes, parents might not be aware of a problem their child is facing — counsellors can help them pinpoint the issue.”

Chetana agrees that one-to-one sessions with children can be very helpful. “When parents approach me with their children, I sit with them for a period and take the time to establish a connection with them. Parents don’t have the time to do that often — it’s sad but true,” she states.

However, Jigna, who has a five-year-old daughter, believes that it’s important for parents to distinguish between the serious problems that demand professional help and behavioural issues that most children face. She says, “Children face their share of problems — they are growing up in a very competitive environment. And parents generally feel that it will help to have someone to guide them. However, as much as possible, I feel it’s important for parents to make the time to understand their children. There are some serious issues which do require professional help but for everything else, how much can counselling help?” 

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