How Unhealthy Relationships Affect Children - Ibra Aamir

Updated: May 18, 2021

Drunk in their own sorrows, parents forget how their verbal and physical abuse towards each other impacts their children. Family is regarded as the support system of a human being, but we turn a blind eye to the dark side of the family that pulverizes the lives of children and sows the seeds of suicidal contemplation in their minds.

While some students anticipate returning home following a tiring day at school, other children desperately wish that school would never end so they wouldn’t have to go home to a shower of abuses and curses. They see school as a refuge from their problems. When two people rush into divorce or separation, they do not take the feelings of their child into account and what scars this rushed act will leave on the child’s heart.

Parental conflict can have toxic effects on a child. The child can succumb to anxiety, depression, unusual fears, and disturbed sleep. This can prompt deteriorating health and low performance at school. Scientific studies show that a child’s brain develops differently if they are yelled at. The human brain processes negative events more quickly than positive ones. The shrill tone and the dead look in the eyes of the parents can traumatize the child. Furthermore, constant exposure to fights can expand the odds of anxiety and panic attacks among children because fear has been drilled in their minds. Hence, when a child witnesses unhealthy relationships in the family, the development of his brain is adversely impacted.

Childhood wounds can lead to challenges in adulthood. The child can transform into an abuser, perhaps get addicted to intoxicating substances. The aggressive behavior witnessed in the family can be passed onto the offspring that will lead the child to treat their family in a harsh way when they grow up, just the way they learned from their parents. From what they observe in their childhood, they implement it in their adulthood. Seeing their family bark at each other, the child would think that this is the way to deal with every problem and hence will mirror this aggressive behavior in the future. Yelling at or in front of your child is unhealthy communication.

Nonetheless, parents are not the only ones to blame when one studies the darker side of the family. When siblings are mean to each other, the concept of sibling rivalry emerges. Not usually talked about in Pakistan, sibling rivalry is the jealousy, competition, and fighting between brothers and sisters.

Sibling rivalry is triggered when one of the children dominates academics as well as manners; when he is the ‘perfect child’, and parents favor the perfect child over others. An inferiority complex develops in the rest of the siblings and they feel trivial. From a psychological aspect, they crave parental attention and love that should have been divided equally among all the siblings but is being given to only the perfect child. This is common in desi families where the child is always compared to his age fellows. To some extent, sibling rivalry is perceived as normal. However, there are some signs that parents must watch out for to detect when the common arguments between siblings get unhealthy. One of the most common is when children get into physical fights and do not acknowledge the harm that they are doing to each other. Other warning signs include tattling, temper tantrums, and constant frustration with everything. In other cases, children tend to become quieter because they feel that they are not as important and loved.

Every child has emotional needs that need proper tending. If he is deprived of parental care because they are too busy yelling at each other, his mental wellbeing can be influenced. Sometimes it is important to put aside your negative feelings for the sake of your child. Moreover, parents need to eradicate the idea of the perfect child from their minds. Every child is different and unique in his own way.

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