A cousin’s wife has been undergoing counseling for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since 17th Dec 2012. One of Nirbhaya case convicts was a regular at her house supplying vegetables and at times would spend time with her 2 young daughters and the maid. She went through a major shock just thinking ‘What could have happened?’
With the advent of HIV, it has been very strongly recommended for us medical practitioners, to take universal precautions while handling any patient – literally means, treat all human blood and bodily fluids as infectious.
The same scenario is now prevalent in Indian society. With multiple instances of rape and molestation being reported every day – not to mention other instances of child sexual abuse – parents are undergoing a never before felt paranoia. And you can’t blame them, knowing well enough that in almost 80% of cases, the perpetrator is someone, the victim knew and trusted; building watchman, school bus cleaner, school peon, a trustworthy domestic servant or worst of all a close relative.
Every parent has now started worrying for their girl child; they are really worried and are struggling to perform even the smallest chore, themselves, as they suddenly feel they cannot trust anyone.
This sudden shift of attention to the girl child has led to other, totally unexpected problems.
The girl child who is now being over-protected runs a risk of future problems linked to ‘over-protection & dominance’; Dominance because she will now have to mingle with people after parental scrutiny. The problems foreseen are developing a feeling of inadequacy, growing up lacking initiative and in the long term passively dependent on parents.
Three boys, of age 4-5 years have been brought to my clinic with new onset of stammering in one and nail-biting in other two. They all have a younger sister!
According to our team counselor, sudden focus of all attention to another sibling has produced a feeling of insecurity in them, which is manifesting as stammering in one and nail-biting in other. And all these years parents had been proactive in preventing any such feeling of ‘inattention’.
If not handled, insecurity in a child may lead to a feeling of rejection, lead to low self-esteem, lead to faulty discipline like rebelling against parental authority or induce a feeling of serious sibling rivalry.
For harrowed parents, another tough aspect of parenting, where they can not justify this sudden ‘partiality’ / over-protection to their children as they can never share / detail the fear that has triggered this so perceived partial behaviour.
Since I do not have young children, I cannot share how I would avoid such a situation; achieve my goals without disturbing my child/ children?
I am leaving this open for parents who must be facing similar issues to share how they are handling their little gems.
Dr Chander Asrani, father to three daughters and grand father to one, is a post-graduate in Family Medicine. He has over 35 years in clinical practice, launched www.growingwell.com in 2000 and since then has been writing on various subjects. Know more about him at about.me/drasrani.