Comparison and Compensation: Unhealthy Modes


The parents’ own complexes, insecurity and deep-rooted anxiety which

cast a shadow on their child-rearing practice may be detrimental for the child.

These parents are helpless and indecisive most of the time. Occasionally

they are liable to impart a sort of parenting which tends to compensate for

their own complexes and they end up providing the things which they were

denied in their youth without considering the consequences. If not directly

or intentionally, this may have some link with the parents’ deep-rooted

unfulfilled desires which they want to gratify by regimenting or spoiling the

child. Parents should be careful about not going to either extreme.

Another set of parents move in a direction opposite to this trend. They

feel that the child should be treated in exactly the same way as they were

treated in their childhood, recalling their parents as harsh, conservative and

non-rewarding. They become inconsiderate or follow blindly their selfmade

or customary rules and compel their child to obey the same. This

rigidity is hardly accepted by their child. Very soon he turns a deaf ear and

starts revolting against their commands, orders and even requests. Parents’

constant refusals to demands may make a child more stubborn and take him

far away from his parents.

I have observed during interview sessions that many parents forced their

child to follow the rules which they have been observing for generations.

Although it is not bad to maintain the family rituals, to follow each and every

rule without modification and mutual agreement in conformity with the needs

of the changing times sounds like autocracy. Many children are the victims

of their parents’ autocratic nature. Sometimes, parents’ adamant attitude is

the by-product of their learnt behaviour which they take as normal, as it is

the training they received in their own childhood. Whatever they learnt then,

they consider an absolutely normal way of behaving.

Discover Good Options

As recently as two decades back, society was quite different. There

have been lots of changes since then; how can you stop your child from

going along with the new trend? Rather, you need to bring some progressive

changes in yourself and your behaviour without needlessly comparing the

modern times to the olden days. You can overturn the notion that one’s

personality and disposition cannot be changed. You are quite capable of

originating a new principle on your own by bringing a positive change in

your attitude and outlook.

Thus, for parents, compensating for their own deprivations or insistence

upon adhering to the old family practice of child-rearing is, in either case,

based on their biases. There is no plausible reason why parents should

not respond to the novelty and the changes which are happening rapidly

around them. The child who accepts rigid parental dictates may develop an

inflexible and restricted personality and face guilt-arousing and self-abasing

conflicts resulting in mounting and severe problems in them. So, you should

be a liberal parent—while proceeding carefully!

Parents! It is advisable for you to sort out your position by reviewing

your parental problems at periodic intervals and their traumatic impact on

you which block the way to your becoming more liberal and independent.

It will open new vistas for you to welcome new and good ideas, thereby

enabling you to develop a correct insight, and realize the severity of the

actions of your own troubled past and their ongoing impact on your child.

Parents will find some illustrations in the following chapter on how

their own behaviour crosses over to their child willy nilly. It is good idea for

them if they assess themselves by relegating themselves to the background

as a ‘child’ inside them and interact with ‘him’ accordingly.

There are so many families who demonstrate how even a person who

came from a disturbed family raises his child in the right direction. So one’s

own childhood experiences may give one some vital clues on what to do and

what not to do— let those guide one’s activity.

Ragini, a mother of two teenage children, said “I used to see many fights

between my parents from my very early childhood. Dad used to torture my

mom. My mom was often in depression. She hardly supervised us, as I have

a brother, too. We both used to take care of ourselves. We used to manage

from school to home by ourselves. We were deprived of many essential

childhood desires. Now, my husband and I share a wonderful relationship

and we’re bonding with our kids. We are satisfied with our achievements.

We celebrate every occasion with zest. We often drop in on our relatives and

friends. We don’t spend much time with friends, rather we make sure that

we give our children maximum time. Both my children are excellent. I don’t

find that my traumatic childhood experience interfered with my own life.

Rather, it enriched my overall experience which gave me some insight and

taught me the secret of family happiness which we often lacked.”9

In the final analysis, a parent blaming a child for some behavioural

disorders need to look back to his early days of parenting and find hints for

a correct approach in his personal history.

If parents were only a little less casual in advertising the dark edges of

their personality to their children, we would surely have had a society of

smarter, less erratic, fundamentally stronger (morally and psychologically)

youth. Not only would they have been more in control of themselves but

also possibly have steered clear of any behavioral aberration and prevented

themselves from becoming the deviant from the accepted norms of the


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