Not one big happy family anymore- The New Indian Express

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Not one big happy family anymore- The New Indian Express

Not one big happy family anymore- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

KOCHI: Neethu has two siblings, an older sister and a younger brother. Both her parents were working and she always felt ignored  growing up. And, she is quick to say with conviction that her family ruined her as a person. “My mother and father are just co-existing. I can see they are frustrated and the fights between my mother and grandmother were awful. I used to hate my mother for the way she treated my grandmother. I still hate her for that. Grandmother was the only solace I had.

Once she also passed away, I found it difficult to live in my house. My mother never cared for me or my sister. Our brother, on the other hand, gets a little more consideration, maybe now that my parents have matured,” said Neethu. Neethu’s sister is on the verge of a divorce and things are not going well for the family.  

Kavitha was brought up in a modern day family along with her sister and two adopted siblings. Her father is an alcoholic and gets drunk often. While he rarely assaults anyone physically, he is quite loud and abrasive when drunk. A slew of verbal abuse falls from his mouth and Kavitha always got into fights with her father. “ Now I have a very loud voice. Its as if I want to be heard. I think I was trying to outshout my father and let him understand my point and it got stuck,” said Kavitha. 

Having witnessed two suicides in the immediate family itself,  she has also recently been diagnosed with the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and severe depression. Family, as a strong social institution, has gone down in shambles these days. The need to strengthen and preserve family ties has turned an immediate necessity, clearly evident from the increasing psychological issues in young people, violence inside families, increasing divorces and lack of affection within family members. The factors contributing to the crashing down of the family structure are many, including the modern day lifestyle and financial constraints.

Substance abuse
In a family with an alcoholic, a smoker or a drug addict, the chances of having issues are high. The substance abuse itself could be the cause of an issue. Vice versa, family issue drive some to drugs. Violence finds its way into these households. In the high of the drugs and alcohol, one might act abrasively and end up hurting family members permanently. Then, there are habitual abusers who get drunk or high every day to assault wife and kids. The kids, who grow up seeing domestic abuse,  will be mentally and emotionally disturbed by these facts, according to experts.

Friction between family members 
The constant bickering and quarrelling in the household, even if it doesn’t amount to physical abuse, will leave an impact in the minds of kids. The name calling and the blame games between the couple would leave the children unsure and in some cases, they even blame themselves for the fights and ends up feeling ‘unwanted’. Once they grow up, this develops into a psychological issue.

Absence of parents
It is the modern day curse that no one has time to spend together as a family. Many fail to ‘prioritize’ spending time together. While they may be working for the sake of their family, it is also important that they keep close to the family on an emotional level. Such parents end up being mere providers and disciplinarians as far as the kids are concerned and the familial bonds loosen.

“The relationship between the parents and the kids should be healthy. The kids should be able to trust their parents. If they become only providers, the children will not value relationship or respect the institution of the family. The parents will have to find the time to spend with the kids and get to know them closely and understand even the minor changes in them. Families are smaller now. Rather than becoming a tight-knit group, they are withering away. Even after all the awareness programmes, most cases that come before me have familial issues as background,” said Dr Elsie Oomen, psychiatrist.

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