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    21 April 2017

    Don't Parents Love Both Sons & Daughters Equally? This Pune Girl's LAST Letter Is a Warning For Us All...

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    Wom Editorial
    It's a given that every parent loves their child and wants the best for them. We do everything we can to protect our kids and shower them with affection and attention, throughout their life. But what if our child's need for love is more than what we as parents are giving them? What if they feel unloved or discriminated against, even without our knowing it? A girl from Pune committed suicide recently, and the note she left behind comes as a bone-chilling warning for all parents...

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    Love is such a strong force that the lack of it, or the perceived lack of it, can really damage someone. This is especially true for growing children and teenagers who are already at the risk of depression in this crazy, high-pressure world. Everybody's love language is different; some children may choose to cuddle and kiss and wish you ‘Good Night’ every day, while other kids may choose to remain silent and just count on you to always be there for them. Our children are more intuitive and observant than we know, and can pick up hints from our behaviour on just how much we mean to them.

    This girl from Pune had in her life her parents and a younger brother - seemingly no paucity of love. But recently, she breathed her last. She committed suicide and left behind a last note citing the reason behind her death: "My parents don't love me." She said, I was being ignored by my parents as they were being more attentive towards my younger brother.

    We cannot even imagine the pain her parents must have felt on reading these words by their daughter. The relationship between a parent and a child is unique - as parents, we think we know our child inside out, including their emotional and mental state. Then how do these things happen? How does a child feel so unloved so as to end their life for good? Can the love of a parent fall short?

    The suicide rates in India have been going up in an alarming manner, particularly among young children and teens. But when the reason for loss of life is attributed to the parents - the very people who protect us and love us the most - can anything be more heart-breaking?

    Sibling Rivalry and Gender Bias in India

    If you are a parent to more than one child, sibling rivalry is something you too might have encountered. It is a fairly common issue in many homes, where one of two or three siblings feels they are loved less or that they aren't loved at all. While most parents try to treat their kids equally, it may not be perceived that way to a child who simply requires more time or physical affection. Parents even resort to being “fair” which may be correct, but doesn't necessarily equal love.
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    This situation doesn't mean we are doing something wrong as parents. It is quite natural to focus on the child you think needs more help and attention, say a newborn baby, or a child about to sit for Board examinations. But children are little, and may not have the emotional maturity to understand the demands on your time. This can eventually lead to them feeling neglected or unloved. The problem isn't when the child feels this way; the problem happens when we as parents fail to acknowledge this situation.

    And then it gets worse if the child sees this as gender-fuelled discrimination! What if they think you love their sibling more, only because he is a boy? Not only does this make their mental state worse, but they also feel helpless - after all, there's nothing they can do about this!

    The bias against the girl child in society, and sometimes, even within our household, is very ugly and very real. All the efforts for women's equality notwithstanding, our society continues to mete out discrimination against daughters, focusing much more on the male child as the 'heir' of the family. It is easy for a girl child to start feeling inferior and depressed, and that she is not worthy of love!

    Important Parental Action to Prevent Childhood Depression

    The tragic incident in Pune, while deeply disturbing, raises some important questions about parenting. While we are more focused than ever on positive parenting, helping our kids become smart, hard-working and confident, are we as attuned to their emotions as we need to be?

    Children tend to express their feeling of neglect in various ways, as a plea to grab their parents’ attention. This may be in the form of repeated threats like -

    “Nobody cares if I am alive anyway...”

    “I’m so tired of this life!”

    “You love my sibling more than me!”

    “You do not love me!”

    Yes, this happens to a lot of children - and we often see this as a passing phase. It is indeed true that many kids eventually grow out of it. However, there's no knowing how badly it has affected a child. That’s where, as a parent, the wisest thing to do is address it, even if we think it is just a bout of melodrama.

    Let's listen more attentively when the child is talking - or not talking - and look for cues that may lead us to what they are really feeling. Even if you find your attention drawn to one child, make sure your husband and you alternate between giving all kids equal attention. The time and encouragement that comes from parents can make or break a child. Unloved children go on to becoming adults who lack confidence or have difficulty expressing themselves.

    It is really as easy as cuddles now and then, celebrating your child's successes, and being there for them when they fail. The kind of support and comfort only a parent can give is all that a child needs. Let's be more careful and sensitive to the needs of our kids - it's really very important.


    Via The Times Of India

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