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Putting family first 2

Last week we discussed about how Vineet should be spending more time with the family by having a special family time together once in a week. Here we discuss the importance of discussing issues with each member of the family on a one to one basis. Here he has to spend about 1-2 hours with each member of the family every week. For that time, he has to be completely present with that person, transcending his own personal interests and concerns, fears and needs. He should be there fully as a husband or a father. You put all those things that distract and disturb you away so that you can spend time with your family member. Discuss what is going on in that person’s life, all his problems and concerns. You can be the first person with whom he could start doing that. Children get much of a sense of security from the way their parents treat each other. So building your relationship will have a powerful effect on the family. It is also important to spend time with each child. Sometimes Vineet will find that he is at sea about what to discuss with each child. If he just starts thinking about his role as a father, he will never be short of topics. They will want to talk and do everything with you, whether it is going out for an ice-cream or going swimming, watching a movie or help with homework, going for a walk or increasing pocket-money. Therefore, you will have to plan your activities with them. If all the important things are taken care of, they will no longer be asking to do something exciting. The planning will also help Vineet with his commitment as he can plan his work around those times. Even if he misses one or two times, he need not feel guilty if he can compensate for that at some other time. During this planning, you could also be teaching your child how to plan his or her life. It would also help you to know how your child is growing up and what shape his life is taking regarding hobbies, academics and emotions. This will be quality time instead of rushed up, ‘having to spend’ time with the children. He could spend time with the children teaching them the principles of life from his experience. The time could also be utilized to solve the problems that the children might have. They could discuss all their concerns and how to solve them. The most important is to have fun with the child on an individual basis. Do what he or she likes doing the most instead of your agenda. It could simply be watching television or as complex as building a model aeroplane. One-on-one are the times where the deepest bonding takes place, the nurturing of the relationship takes place here. Here the rivalry between relationships takes a backseat. It also makes the transition to having a grown up relationship with children much easier. It is not possible to plan all the things all the time. There will be times when you may have to spend time with the family because of emergency. You may have to pay special attention to one child because he or she is going through a particularly difficult phase in life. At that time, the bonding that has been created in the one-to-one times help to understand the child and to be able to keep the communication lines open. It will come naturally to you as a parent when your child needs you. It is at such times that you can give an additional perspective and help with exploring options. It is not whether you think what your child is doing something important or not, the important thing is to be with him or her when he is doing it. You have to affirm and praise, raise the motivation levels. If your child thinks that you do not care for him, he will never be able to respect you for whatever you are. You would have lost the relationship because your child would never want either to listen to you or open up to you. You can tell Vineet that if he thought that his work was suffering from a lack of attention, he would immediately jump and take notice. It is perhaps his inability to take his family as an organization, which needs equal attention that is making him neglect it.  He has subordinated his family to his work and lost the focus of his priorities. If you do not give him feedback regarding this, he may not be able to come out of it alone. For some time you could act as a bridge for him with the children, then he can take over. You do not want him to wake up one day and find an empty nest where he has no clue to the lives of his children and wife, no idea as to why everyone has gone their way and he has lost the golden moments that he could have spent with them in the most important times of their lives. He would have climbed the tallest ladder and found that it was leaning against the wrong wall. You could remind him that his role in the family will never end; even while being away, he is always going to be a model, although it would work negatively. By playing an active role, he will be not losing out on the precious moments with the family. All these activities can be done if Vineet puts the family as his topmost priority. You can possibly remind him that things, which matter the most, should never be at the mercy of those that matter the least.

Dr. Darshan Shah

Dr. Darshan Shah, a renowned psychiatrist and psychotherapist, is committed to make a difference in the area of mental health and help individuals cope with feelings and symptoms; change behavior patterns that may contribute to one’s illness and henceforth contribute to their newly improved pathway of life.