Parenthood, however we perceive it to be, is essentially the chance given to a human to raise and nurture another human being. It is similar yet so distinct from other kinds of relationships. Apart from being so many dynamic things, parenthood is a feeling you get when you gaze at a tiny wonder and adore it heartily. A child becomes the epitome of hope for its parents from the moment they hold it for the first time.
However, the relationship between a parent and child can, like every relationship, turn bitter. In these circumstances, the usual mistake parents make is the blurring of the line between discipline and abuse. The most common form of abuse parents resort to is verbal or mental abuse, excessive nagging being a part of it.
The usage of manipulative words and changing of perspective can very well count as this type of abuse. Parents shame their kids in a subtle or abrupt manner depending on their emotions. They try and project their own experienced childhood trauma onto their children, which is not at all an excuse for this type of attitude. Pushing your own trauma on to someone because they didn’t go through half of what you did , forcing your failed childhood aspirations or success on them doesn’t make your children stronger or more like you, instead it makes them despise you. Making a child feel guilty about what you provide to them or making them feel undeserving, is yet another type of mental abuse. Mental abuse can take its toll on some people if not most, it pushes them towards a fragile state of mind in which they question their own self worth or confuse their boundaries, inching them towards giving up. The usage of a continuous abusive language in order to shame or mock a person or their choices is verbal abuse. Excessive nagging never lets a child learn how to be themselves.
Dealing with nagging or toxic parents is a burdensome and confusing job. We go through this weird dilemma wherein we keep on questioning our feelings. When we are acutely aware of nagging parents, we do not consider it to be normal to crave to be in their arms at the same time wanting to run away from them. We invalidate our emotions thinking that they are the ones who have raised us and we force ourselves to make the best of it. Here’s what we can try –
Recognise and validate
The initial stage of tackling nagging parents is learning to validate our feelings. We need to understand that being linked to our parents was not our voluntary decision and we are not responsible for our troublesome relationship with them. The boldest step we can ever take in such a situation is accepting the things as they are.
Furthermore, we should recognise whether our parents’ nagging is them just being typical parents or is it actually toxic.
Identifying signs like
~ Parents’ requirements are overtaking the child’s for a prolonged period of time.
~ We start fearing having a conversation with them thinking about their outbursts.
~ We find it difficult to be ourselves around them.
Helps us understand this difference.
Gen Z can deal with many issues of their lives just by following the cause and effect of somebody’s actions. Once we’ve recognised our feelings and our parents’ toxicity, we should understand why do they act this way. Generally, it is about them and not the children.
At times parents nag a lot because all they wish for is that the child may never have to face hardships. They cannot let their kid slip away from their hands and this insecurity further develops into a toxic control over the child’s emotion. Their constant reminders and comments soon turn futile as the more they nag, the less we listen.
Learn to guard your boundaries
When we grow up in a controlling household, we adapt to the habit of leaving ourselves behind for our parents, and end up abandoning ourselves in the outside world as well. We need to maintain healthy emotional and mental boundaries in order to safeguard our feelings and not let anyone make decisions for us. And most importantly, learn to be assertive, saying yes or no when we really want to.
Respond, Don’t React
Try to listen to what your parents are trying to convey and once you’re done, respond using affirmative words. Try not to react with an abrupt body language or angry outbursts. While you respond, frame your sentences in a way that validates the feelings of both the parties. ” Yes Papa, I know things are hard for you but I need to let you know that this conversation is making me anxious.” Responding helps in avoiding many expected brawls.
Vent out! ( Not an Among Us reference)
Plan a short ranting session with your friends or someone you’re comfortable sharing your experiences with. While you do so, don’t look out for advises, instead look out for encouraging words. Ask your friends to boost you up in the end. Talking things out lessens the burden most of the time.
Find an escape
Tackling this situation requires having a plan of action and people we can rely on. Consider staying with friends instead of with family. Try to distance yourself from them when things go out of your hand. Try doing something creative to vent out your emotions that you would’ve otherwise let out in an angry argument.
Handling parental issues is the most heartbreaking and tiring job for a child. The above mentioned plan of action may not help us deal with them entirely, but might help us survive some days.
Ifrah is an 18- year old student pursuing Humanities as her academic stream, studying English and History at the University of Delhi. She is passionate and dedicated to her work and has shown a keen interest in creative writing, mental health, intersectional feminism, art, and environmental activities for the past few years. She is a fun person to have around if you find random instant puns and memes funny.