A father came to me with a complaint that his son was being very adamant. I asked him to explain with an example. He said his son was adamant in studies, he does not like to be told to study. He told me he sits with his son and coaches him. He said his son refused to listen to him.
I asked him to explain further. He said when he tries to teach him in a particular fashion, the boy says that his teacher did not teach in that manner. He wants his son to understand the fundamentals, so that he can tackle the problems easily. Right now the son is just following his teacher’s method.
The father told me his son’s teacher is wrong. No wonder the child does not like to study with the father. No child will accept criticism about his teachers. When I pointed it out to the father, he had difficulty understanding this. I told him all kids adore their teachers, not just his son. He too would have accepted his teacher’s words as gospel, when he was in school.
This father wants his son to excel in academics as well as in sports. His line is when you do something, learn the fundamentals well, be it games or academics. He does not believe in doing something for the fun of it. This is alienating his son from him. He wants his son to be not just a good sportsperson, but the best sportsperson.
I feel his childhood has some clue to his personality. Maybe he felt he did not fulfill his parents’ wishes, so he wants his son to fulfill his. Many such parents see their identity through their children. If the son does well, it means he, the father, does well.
And such parents also tend to thrust their aspirations on their kids. They do not realize their kids will have their own aspirations and dreams. You have not been able to achieve something, that is your life. Why should the children live your life? They are not born for you to have a second chance. They are born to fulfill their dreams and goals.
This father had a hard time accepting this logic. He is so wrapped up in making his son perfect, he is not enjoying his life, nor is his son enjoying. He seems to feel he could have done better, he may be feeling he is a failure and so he has set standards for his son.
This father was not so good academically, so to expect his son to excel is wishful thinking. His son is better than average in studies, but he is not in the category of high achievers. His teachers have expressed this to his parents, and they feel as long as he revises, he will do good. There is no need to confuse him further with concepts that are heavy for him. The father fails to see this point. I wonder if he will consider being a teacher. What will his students do?
He is quite rigid in his attitude and does not want to give up easily. He feels his family has fun at his expense, and he gets very upset. He does not realize if he keeps criticizing his son, he will reduce the boy’s self confidence and self esteem. The boy will come to hate studies and sports.
All the parents can do is watch and see which area their children have skills in. Encourage them to develop those skills and also support them to do well in academics. Basically the children have to enjoy their school days and also learn without pressure.
This father’s grouse is his son listened to his mother, but not to him. He did not realize it was his attitude and rigid stance that was responsible for this state of affairs. When I asked him how he interacted with the kid, all he had to tell him was to study. He felt playing, watching television, going out was all a waste of time. In that time if his son were to study, he would do better in studies. What he failed to understand was it was not the time spent on studies that mattered, but the concentration that child was able to put in his studies.
He has set a standard for his son. He wants his son to attain that. And he cannot tolerate any shortcomings. This father needs a lot of counseling to learn to loosen up. He refuses to come for counseling, because he feels he is fine. If he were to come, it means he is not good enough, and that is a failure a perfectionist cannot tolerate.
If he does not let up, he will either effectively kill his son’s spirit of initiative, self confidence and self esteem. Or his son will rebel, not go in the line his father wants him to. He will feel he cannot match or come up to the standards set by his father, so he will prefer doing something else entirely. A sad state of affairs. I hope the son does not grow up to replicate his father’s outlook. That would be a real disaster.