HYDERABAD: The pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone and one of the most neglected demographics is children. With the closure of schools, increased time spent at home, and adapting to online education, children have to adjust to many things, which could get overwhelming. However, a largely overlooked phenomenon, which is regardless of the pandemic, is domestic abuse, both physical and mental.
Psychologists share that they had received a lot of cases where parents were physically punishing or abusing their kids during the pandemic. There were also cases where the kids have been suffering this since their childhoods and the lockdown had led to accelerating this behaviour to a higher extent.
Numerous researches and surveys state that hitting and other forms of physical punishments have been linked to mental health problems in kids. Later in life, these childhood experiences influence their behaviour and personality.
Punishing and mistreatment are related to a higher danger of reserved conduct in adulthood. Kids who experienced both - unforgiving actual discipline and some type of abuse or neglect - were considerably bound to foster solitary practices as grown-ups than kids who just experienced just one kind of abuse.
Sailaja Pisapati, a clinical psychologist based in Hyderabad, shares that it is during the adolescent age when the child tries to understand the environment and that is when behavioural changes take place. “How parents are going to deal or handle situations related to their kids during this phase is very important. It also depends on the parenting style. In authoritarian parenting, the parents are very demanding. They want the kids to follow the rules or listen to them. Meanwhile, in a democratic parenting style, they give liberty to the children and also teach them what is good and what is bad. Usually, the behavioural issues happen mostly with authoritarian parenting style,” says Sailaja.
How parents treat their children and the effects of physical punishments will also be reflected in their academic performance. Children usually show oppositional definitions and tendencies. Usually, these children will be argumentative that will lead to conduct problems and if not dealt with in childhood, will impact the child’s personality in future.
Psychologists also share that there is a link between physical punishment and the anti-social behaviour of the child. When you punish the child, then there is definitely a poor parent-child relationship and a lack of communication that further affects their school performance and leads to low self-esteem. Children generally learn through the way of modelling, which is a type of social learning, shares Aliza Sayani, team lead for community engagement and counsellor at Praan Foundation.
“Children easily learn from what they see around themselves. When they see their parents aggressive with them or if they start feeling it’s okay to hit, punish or yell at somebody or somebody, they end up getting aggressive in nature. Instead of learning techniques to control their anger, they express it. Instead of trying healthier coping mechanisms, they go for harmful defence mechanisms as they are not able to manage their emotions,” says Aliza.
Physical aggressiveness is gets passed down from generations. Parents have stress and pressure due to their professional and personal life, and as a result of which, they target their kids with their anger. However, there are few parents who regret their behaviour in future.
Tips for parents
- Take time out to spend with your children
- If you feel you’re getting impulsive, take a deep breath and respond when it’s the right time
- Respond to situations and don’t react
- Be aware why are you hitting your child
- Ask yourself if it is the right thing to do
- Is the guilt after hitting them worth it?