Recently, while sitting in a cafe sipping coffee, could not help but overhear four mothers discussing their children. Three of the mothers were sharing deeply about what is not good about their children. They were sharing the negative aspects of their child’s life. One was talking nothing about her children. When one of them turned to her and said, “We have all been discussing the negative things about our children, you have not said one word about your children. Are there no negative things about your children? Don’t tell me they are angels”
The lady replied, “No, they are not angels but I don’t look at some of the things as negative about them that are worth discussing.” She was being very polite and said she does not want to discuss any negative issues about her children with others.
How important is this for parents? Should they discuss the drawbacks of their children with outsiders? Or is it a family matter to be discussed between the children and the parents? What is the advantage of discussing it with outsiders? Even if the child has some problems, can an outsider's knowing about it help? Isn’t a family a closed unit? Should not matters of the family stay within the family? If at all something is serious, then the parents or the child should be talking to a professional or someone who is the ‘friend of the family.’ A friend of the family is a person who is having the best interest of the family at heart. He/She would like the family to be a unit and thrive. Their contribution to hearing about the issues of the child would be to help and not hear for the sake of hearing and spreading the information around.
When children come to know that they have been discussed in a bad light with someone outside the family, would feel good? If the discussion has been only to share the information and not to help, would the child feel comfortable in that person’s presence? Have you ever had your parents discuss you in a bad light with uncles, aunts, relatives,
or neighbours? Does it ever feel good?
People cannot keep secrets. Once you discuss the inappropriate behaviour of your child with an outsider they, in turn, will share with someone else. If it is a relative, it will not be long before the child’s cousins come to know about it.
Parents should share and broadcast the positive aspects of their child’s life with outsiders. The negative aspects should be shared only with professionals or with ‘friends of the family' with the intention of solving the issue, shouldn't they?