On 3 Jun 2017 Friday evening a woman resident of The Ivy, plush Sushant Lok apartments, barged into another resident’s home and started assaulting a 13 year old girl in front of her other friends and father. The woman who was apparently miffed at a month old fight between a group of teenagers that involved her daughter, pushed open the door and caught hold of the teenager, pulled her hair, scratched and beat her. When he father of the girl tried to rescue his daughter, she hit and scratched him also.
Reason is said to be a month old altercation between her daughter and rest of group girls belonging to the same condominium. She apparently miffed at other girls refusing to play with her daughter, decided to take things in her hands and physically assaulted the people in family leaving the teenager in trauma. Despite the resident Mr. Singh’s request to sit down and talk the matter out, Mrs. Aggarwal first began using abusive language with the girls and when Mr. Singh objected to the act, she became physically violent. She started throwing things on the house, and even beat the father .
The whole incident left the teenager in trauma.
Though the case is reported in the police station and awaits the action against the woman who abused, we are forced to question if the parents should interfere in their children fights. How far and ugly we can go to protect our children? How parents should address conflicts in their children’s relationships?
We asked Ms. Aparna Balasundaram, a renowned parenting expert in Gurgaon. “As parents we have to be the role models, including of how to deal with conflict/ disagreements with others. Part of living a teenage life is the fact that there will be ups and downs in the friendship. There will be tears and feelings of things not being fair and they face negative peer pressure and bullying. As loving and concerned parents we might be tempted to jump in and protect our teens and feel that we need to fix and solve this by directly engaging with the other child or parents. However resist this urge! Instead as mature and responsible parents, our role is not to step in and take over the teens issue. Rather it is to mentor them with the social and emotional skills to handle it themselves. This gives them the life skills to learn how to negotiate through friendship and other interpersonal differences. You should talk about how it makes them feel, different ways to handle it (role play these responses), help them see their friends perspective and share your own personal experiences on when you might have faced such friendship conflicts and how you dealt with it. As our children grow, we cannot become ‘helicopter’ parents hovering around them and directing all their moves. Instead we need to give them the space to figure things out. Even make mistakes, fall and learn that they have the potential to stand up again and move ahead. This prepares them for the real life!”, advises Aparna.
What do you think? What would you do in such circumstances? How would you deal if you feel your child is being bullied or treated unfairly? We are waiting for your response.