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 We, as parents or mature adults often consider our children as not only naive but also oblivious of what is happening in their surroundings. This is actually true for us. We generally don’t pay much attention to what our children are looking at and most importantly how are they looking at it. I was trying to explain my students that sometimes it’s ok if our parents fight, like you all fight with your friends. Her statement came as a slap on my face when my student said “But, ma’am our parents don’t understand that we are suffering..” For a moment I was speechless. I nodded and repeated what she said “Yes, it is true that you suffer and it is painful to see ‘parents’ fight.” Some children believe that they are the cause of their parents’ fights; “Ma’am my parents never fought before I was born. It is only after my birth that they have started fighting”, said Jai (name changed) and some children just wonder as to why parents fight; “I was 4 years old since then I am seeing my parents fighting”, said one of my student buddy counselor in the session.

 

Divorce! Is a compromise that we believe is the best decision for the family peace. But, from a child’s perspective it is just pain where s/he is being ripped apart. One of my students whose parents decided to live separately was referred to me for counseling. Apparently, he is a happy and jovial child. “He is like any other child in my class. There is no problem. He just needs to pay more attention in class and concentrate on his written work. Sometimes he gets in to fights with his friends. Rest is fine”, said his class teacher to me and his mother. Even I believed in it until I saw his drawings in my sessions. He drew a young boy who was standing on a balancing beam, had a tail and long nails. His mother shared that whatever he draws he scribbles on it or just doodles a lot on the paper. It was evident from these drawings that this boy wanted some stability and security in his environment (basically in his home). There was a lot of suppressed anger and aggression in this child. “I had thought that he has taken our divorce very comfortably”, said the shocked mother when I showed her the drawings. Children, too suppress their feelings which trouble them in their daily classroom functioning, like it did to this 9 year old boy.

 

The age at which our children ask us which type of shoes goes best with their favourite dress; some couples expect them to decide whether to live with daddy or mumma. “I want to go back to ‘my home’. I know my dad was a bad man but I miss my grandparents and bua (paternal aunt). I want all of them back”, said Nitin (name changed) in our group session. No matter how cruel we may consider our spouse is to us, s/he is a parent to that child. Children accept their parents unconditionally and this is what they expect from their parents too. Here I would like to give a perspective of a 16 year old who was wounded badly by his parents’ divorce. “It’s Ok that now they have decided to live separately but I hate it when my dad keeps screaming that my mum is an evil woman. Also, I don’t like the fact that my mom blames me for my decision to live with my dad. My mom can only manage the finances for my sister so I chose to live with my dad. I am tired and I want to end my life now”, said a 16 year old boy who felt directionless and helpless.    As a solution, the group was silent and so was I. Should they part ways or not is difficult to say. This is true that all parents fight. This is also a fact that children suffer. We ended the session listening to each other’s silence. Children took a pledge that they will not share what happened in the session today with anybody else in the school. I end this write up here for us to feel the silences of those children and introspect on “why do we as parents fight?”   Sometimes, some discussions end without a closure and leaves us to unrest..  

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Namakkal