Muscat: A senior psychologist in Oman has said that parents who hit and scold their children are severely damaging their confidence, which could affect them for years to come.
Anuya Phule, a Ministry of Health-accredited psychotherapist and psychologist at Hatat Polyclinic, told Times of Oman it was important for parents to be aware of their children’s needs.
“We forget that children are also little humans and they have the same feelings and emotions that we do,” she revealed, in an exclusive interview.
“They don’t have the words or emotions to express how they feel. They don’t know how to say ‘stop that’ or ‘you’re insulting me’. We don’t do that to an adult because we know that we can’t, although some people still do it, so, why would we do it with children?” she asked.
“It definitely affects the child’s self-confidence and emotional state of mind. The child feels more fear and might show more difficult behaviour, because that is the only way he or she knows how to express himself or herself,” added Phule. “
In fact, if you are hitting or scolding children to stop their difficult behaviour, that is only going to make things worse, because that is how they express anger. This will affect a child’s emotional wellbeing and self-confidence and you are damaging them.”
Phule added that it was very important for children to have someone to speak to at school, because they may not always get the emotional support they need at home.
“I do have teenage clients with study anxieties who avoid school because they fear failure,” she explained.
“Hitting students in school may not be rampant here at the moment, but if a teacher is critical of students or berates them in front of the class, children suffer from performance anxiety and their studies suffer.”
“Schools in Oman do have counsellors, and it is very important, because when children are going through something, problems with their friends for example, not all of them are comfortable speaking to their parents about it,” said Phule.
“Parents may not take it that seriously, but they are, to my knowledge, becoming more aware of their feelings. Nevertheless, there are some topics that children just can’t discuss with their parents. It could be a relationship issue, it could be an emotional issue, it could be anything. If someone can go to a counsellor, he/she might feel comfortable getting some advice.”
She stressed that it was also important for people to let go of the stereotype of boys and men being detached from their feelings.
“This has been going on for centuries, and I do come across families where there is now an increased understanding of boys’ feelings,” explained Phule. “I do come across boys who are often asked ‘why are you crying? Are you a girl?’ I think this will change gradually, and people will see this expression of emotions as a strength rather than a weakness. This conditioning where males are asked not to cry exists in all countries, where men are told to be strong and told not to cry and show their tears; but people are not immune to emotions,” she added.
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