Financial insecurity is faced by a number of people. Anxiety on such
issues should not affect parents at the expense of their child’s mental or
There is the case of Rohit, a nine-year-old boy. He came with his parents
and appeared overburdened with a weight he found hard to bear. His eyes
were full of tears as if someone had punished him. His dejected mood was
the cause of his parents’ concern, which brought him to me.
The parents’ complaint was — “He never seems to be happy. He doesn’t
talk to us. He doesn’t want to go anywhere. His academic record was good;
but now it’s dropping day by day. We have no clue where things went wrong.”
This case revealed that the parents themselves were very sad about
Rohit’s worsening academic performance. Rohit, who used to score
brilliantly, was suddenly undone by their high expectations.
Rohit briefed me that he is not able to face academic competition as his
parents often talk about his performances with their relatives. But he was
more anxious about his father’s financial limitations and the expenditure on
his education. He also confided in me his fear that if he did not get good
marks he will certainly feel ashamed and cannot forgive himself as his father
was spending a lot of money on his tuitions and school fee, despite their
financial constraints. Moreover, he was very sensitive to the quarrelling
of his parents on financial issues, which left him with the disconcerting
sensation that a large amount of money was being spent on his studies.
During the interaction with the parents it was revealed that they had no
idea that their repeated mention of ‘excessive money’ being spent for the
child’s education had made him anxious and robbed him of his confidence
out of fear of failure.
However, owing to the parents’ ignorance or their insensitivity they
were unaware that the reaction of their child towards their financial problems
might be responsible for his low spirits and sadness. In fact, a child keeps a
sharp eye around the home environment and he dissects the situations with
his own perspective. A child has his independent unique perception of many
things which a parent hardly comprehends.
Thus Rohit may realize their sacrifices and try his best to reach his
parents’ expectations but with an uncertainty and disturbed mind: would he
be able to do that? This factor induced stress and fears in him.
If a parent is going through a financial crisis or if he is not financially
strong, he should not express his sacrifices to his child. Such an expression
would simply suggest as if a parent was obliging his child which makes him
more vulnerable to stress.
Saumya’s father had limited earning. He was trying to provide the best
education to his daughter. Saumya has learnt that her parents are often happy
and encouraging. They never showed any negative gesture to their daughter.
As a result, Saumya never felt that her parents were under financial stress,
although she knew the reality. Her demand was less and she used to study on
her own. She was regularly attentive in her class and was invariably listening
intently to the teachers while learning lessons. Due to her parents’ happy-golucky
temperament she could forget the poverty and so called recreations.