“I have always been closed [by my parents] for my ideas or even the smallest of my wishes, be it my career choice or going out with my friends. So I developed a trait of not opening up at all. It’s something I carry in all my relationships. The bond I always need from them makes me emotionally weak in every aspect of my life,” Viqarunnisa Noon School and College graduate Afra Ibnat shares when asked if their parents are their people. reference.
Elsewhere, high school graduate Raisa Shams*, who is currently preparing for college, mentions: “As I was not allowed to socialize much in my childhood, I am very awkward socially. Constant anxiety makes it extremely difficult for me to get in touch with people in real life. Even the bare minimum necessary to survive, like keeping in touch with classmates or colleagues, is very difficult for me.
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As I interacted with more and more people of this age, I noticed that a hint of anger and outrage in their story was evident. However, this anger, induced by strict parenting, was enveloped in something subtle but recurring among this generation – a painful disappointment and resentment.
The authoritarian style of parenting emphasizes the child’s unquestionable obedience, which is achieved through psychological tools like shame, threats, or other modes of mental and physical punishment. Parents, who consciously or unconsciously fall into this category, often tend to be extremely insensitive and provide constant negative feedback to their children’s actions.
A key tool for authoritative parents is fear. It is the fear of being severely punished, reprimanded or the idea of letting the parents down. The cold and insensitive behavior ends up isolating the child from his parents. When parents aren’t supportive, children often can’t trust their parents enough to involve them in their personal lives and see them more as an “authority” than someone they can confide in.
“I don’t try to be emotionally close to them anymore,” *Raisa Zaman comments of her parents. “I turned them off a long time ago, but it’s hard. I feel like we’re biologically designed to crave love and affection from our parents. I mentally denied my parents in a certain extent. I no longer need their approval.”
Children of strict parents often live in a constant obsession to do everything right and have difficulty coping with failure in the future.
“I always have to have everything under control in my life so that I don’t fail. Unplanned efforts freak me out. It made me think too much, to be honest. I’m always afraid of failing,” adds Afra.
Children who grew up in a home as a result of authoritarian parenting also face challenges with intimacy in other aspects of life. Fear of attachment, constant anxiety, emotional despair and trust issues make their personal relationships very complex.
“I think I crave the affection and attention I’m supposed to get from my parents in other relationships. My expectations of those people get dashed sooner or later and I end up losing those relationships” , explains Afra. “I realize that they don’t have to show me the affection that my parents don’t want, but it’s hard for me to accept.”
In unfortunate cases where the parents are violent, the situation can also become fatal. Raisa explains: “I observed that I probably associate violence with love. I have a hard time saying “no” and I have a hard time enforcing boundaries. I don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like. abusive relationships and I stay here no matter how scary it gets.”
Strict parents expect unquestionable conformity from their children. As a result, children have to constantly conceal their actions from their parents, which turns into a compulsive habit at some point.
Fearing negative reactions from their parents, many of these children consider lying to their parents about their plans outside the home, rather than choosing to tell them the truth.
“As I hide things from them, being out of my house means I panic all the time,” says Afra. “They constantly call me to check on me and I have to pay attention to their tone and voice to understand their mood and what reaction to expect at home. It leads to constant anxiety all the time.”
“When I was a kid, I was always paranoid every time I went out,” Raisa continues. “Fearing how my parents would be when I got home and if I was beaten. I spent my whole childhood in fear and paranoia of what my parents were going to do to me. Now I don’t tell my parents of my life anymore.”
Several research papers on parenting styles suggest that teens with strict parents have a twisted sense of authority and are used to being told what to do. Research also shows that these teens, especially women, are less able to make decisions when given the opportunity.
Irfat Sharmin, a recent BUET graduate working in a private company, shares how this behavior affected her. She explains, “Since childhood, I would do or choose things for myself rather than make the calls myself. Naturally, in college, I was hesitant to take control of something or make a decision even when I’m pretty sure. Even at work, I’ve struggled to make confident decisions without help or guidance.”
Clinical psychologist at Square Hospital, Dr. Sharmin Haque suggests that authoritarian parenting often pushes a child towards acute depression and other mental disorders.
“I have encountered many cases with authoritarian parents where the child considers that his life has no meaning. As he approaches 16-17 years of age, the symptoms gradually evolve into that of a personality disorder borderline,” she says.
She also states that repressive anger in children due to constant negative feedback, harsh discipline, and relentless dominant behavior from their parents can often lead to serious outbursts.
Rezwana Saima, an undergraduate student at the University of Dhaka, believes her anger stems from the repression she faces from her parents.
She says: “Sometimes I feel uncontrollable rage towards my parents, especially my mother. I think I deserve some freedom as an adult, which my parents refuse to recognize, because of their beliefs and their overall feeling of overprotection. I understand my mom’s concern, but I keep missing out on so many experiences, it’s just unfair.”
However, “authoritarian parenting”, as opposed to authoritarian parenting, brings out the best in a child according to Dr. Sharmin Haque.
“Authoritarian parents approach parenthood with warmth, sensitivity and consequently develop a sense of limitation and precaution in the child. With high self-esteem and a positive sense of freedom, these children have no trouble in face the outside world once they grow up,” she explains.
As irrational and absurd as a child’s rebellious behavior, outrage and suppressed desolation may seem to some parents, it is essential that they realize how excruciating it is for children to feel anger and resentment. to someone who is supposed to be their closest and most trusted allies. .
*Names have been changed for confidentiality reasons
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