How Indian parents bully their children and why it’s relevant today
Bullying refers to a set of behaviours that are perceived as controlling, demanding, emotionally insensitive, and harmful. It is important to note that bullying is often, but not always, against someone weaker or younger than the bully. Given the defining features of bullying behaviours, some may be surprised to find that parents can unknowingly bully their children too. It is how the behaviour is perceived that makes a particular behaviour or attitude abusive. Parents can have the best of intentions, but may unconsciously bully their children. In this article, we will take a look at how parents in India bully their children. We will explore the impact bullying can have on the children, and list down some ways parents can avoid this cycle. Additionally, we will evaluate if a monitoring app can be used as a tool to avoid bullying behaviour.
How Indian parents bully children
Parents do not realize that how they treat or behave towards a child can be considered as bullying. This comes in a range of forms, from physical, social, to emotional bullying. For example, physical punishments against children when they violate a rule is a common practice in South Asia, in general, and India, in particular. Parents think they are disciplining their child, but what it does is that it creates fear and uncertainty in the child’s mind. Similarly, parents in India also adopt an overbearing attitude with excessive involvement in the child’s life. This can include comments or decisions regarding the child’s hobbies, interests, friends, beliefs, behaviours, attitudes, academic performance, and even social position. Any hobby that deviates from conventions can invite snide remarks. The friends a child makes are meticulously analyzed to check religion, class, gender, and socio-economic background before parents allow them to play together. Similarly, critical comments and questions are raised about academic performance as well. Indian parents tend towards perfectionism, so they expect their child to score the best grades in every subject at all times. The child is reprimanded and blamed for being a failure if this is not done. Choices about careers are also imposed, with little leaving for the child’s interests and passions. Other behaviours include lack of encouragement, poor emotional support, an excessive focus on meeting the child’s physical needs, over-involvement in daily activities, and using the power to change behaviours. Indian culture also focuses heavily on ensuring that the child listens to their parents. However, this is achieved by using authority as a source of power and forcing the child to be subservient to the parent’s wishes. This is not done with harmful intentions but is a clear example of bullying.
Impact of bullying on children
The aforementioned behaviours and attitudes can lead to several problems. Children who grow up in such environments feel invalidated and minimize their feelings. However, this is just one set of a problem caused by parental bullying. The most important impact on children is concerning their mental health. Research has consistently shown that bullying can lead to problems such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and other mental health problems. For example, one study demonstrated that children who experience bullying develop self-image problems, and difficulty with trust and relationships. Other studies have also demonstrated a connection between bullying and poor academic performance, depressive disorders, substance abuse problems, and poor social skills. This highlights the fact that parents in India can end up realizing what they seek to prevent. In other words, bullying behaviours are used to force children into adopting healthy behaviours, but in the long-run, children treated like this develop the very behaviours their parents did not want them to display.
If you are a parent, you may be wondering what can be done to avoid these behaviours. Let’s take a look at some strategies and tools you can use to avoid bullying behaviour and improve the relationship with your child.
- Let your children develop and express their personality freely.
- Do not force or order your child. Gently explaining and reminding them works better than reprimanding them.
- Do not enforce career expectations from a young age. Let them follow their passions.
- Use a praise and reward system at home instead of punishments.
- Recognize that your child will make a mistake and learn in the process. Avoid being overprotective.
- Speak in a soft and kind tone with your child. Anger, yelling, or threats are examples of bullying.
- Supervise their use of digital media.
The final point is of particular importance given that children are now growing up in a digital environment. This is something parents in India find it difficult to understand as they did not have digital technologies such as smartphones, tablets, social media, or other devices. You may even miss out on important information about your child if you fail to monitor their digital life. One way you can do so, without being overinvolved, is to use a monitoring app such as XNSPY. The app offers a range of features that parents can use to keep track of their children. For example, you can use the call and text monitoring feature to know who your child is communicating with. These features work with instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and others as well, so it is quite comprehensive. You can use the app’s location tracking feature to check their whereabouts. The geofencing feature is particularly valuable for parents seeking to ensure their child’s safety. Just create a geofence around a particular area such as a cricket ground, and the app will notify you if your child enters or leaves the location. Similarly, you can monitor their internet browsing history, bookmarks, go through a list of all installed apps, and block those you feel are inappropriate.
There is an instant alert feature too. Just add a contact, word, phrase, or a location to the app’s watch list, and XNSPY will immediately notify you if there is activity related to it. This is a very handy feature if you are trying to give your children the space to develop freely, but want to supervise them. XNSPY is flexible, compatible with a range of Android and iOS devices, and is far more affordable than other parental monitoring apps, so it can be a great addition to your list of parenting tools.
by T F