By Kudzai Kasinganeti
(St Ignatius High School)
In humans, communication is the basic mode of social interaction and the basis of all relations. Communication is key in that it can alter the orientation of a person physically and also has a major impact on a person’s psychology. This is where communication between parents and children surfaces.
As the saying,”Charity begins at home,” goes, communication between parents and their kids raises children in a socially stable environment, boosting their mental stamina and helping them to adapt in society. The problem is that parents rarely have time to talk to their children. The main reason for this dilemma is that most parents grew up in homes where parents were figures of authority and punishment. This created a communication abyss and the tendencies are still prevalent. Some parents choose to stamp authority and hide behind hectic career schedules than talk to their children.
This atrocity has crippled the children’s mental health in that a child might be bullied and traumatized out of their wits but the parents won’t know. This can lead to serious depression and character degradation in the child causing low self esteem. In the 21st century, the use of social media has punched a more gaping hole in the communication link between parents and children. In some families a mother can send her daughter from the same lounge to the kitchen using WhatsApp. The amount of time families spend on their phones affects the effort and time that parents put into talking to their children. This is a moral mutation as far as family ethos go.
Where there is no talking, there is no trust and where there is no trust, insecurities surface. A child might be cyber bullied and battle suicidal thoughts alone because going to the parents is foreign. Some children become loners in their own homes due to unfamiliarity with their parents. One thing that has also affected parent-child relations is the generation difference. Children lock their parents out because they believe them too old-fashioned to understand teenage heartbreaks. This pushes the children to bottle up their feelings and try to deal with them solo which can institute serial depression and fear of social engagement.
The key to mending the communication bridge is introducing family therapy. This helps parents and children to trust each other with their mental problems. In schools, children should be taught to respect not fear their parents, pushing them to confide in them when they have a mental problem or disorder. Door-to-door campaigns by counsellors can help families realize that they can only tackle mental health issues together as a unit. Publicizing stories of mental health fatalities caused by lack of communication can also help families realize the importance of engaging. It is as simple taking a day off social media and going on a family picnic, or a father going to tuck in his daughter every night. It all starts with building trust in each other from the go. Only then can families discuss mental health openly.