Letters To The Editor

“Once you choose hope, anything's possible." – Christopher Reeve

Parental abuse

Many people are worried about child abuse, however there is another type of abuse, parental abuse. Most people think domestic violence involves an adult abusing an intimate partner or a child, but children can also threaten, bully and attack their parents. This abuse occurs more often than many people think. Last week, a video of a man from Rawalpindi beating his mother went viral. The video was captured by the man’s sister who claimed that her brother repeatedly tortured her and her mother. Occasional conflict is normal between parents and their children. But if your child is harming you physically, you are being abused. It's that plain and simple. Parental abuse can leave a parent feeling embarrassed, ashamed, angry, terrified, and unsure what to do. Feelings that are so intense they overtake logic and reason; feelings that leave us questioning ourselves, trapped in uncertainty about what direction to take. If you're in this situation with your child, know that it doesn't mean you are weak or not intelligent. In fact, many parents blame themselves for their child’s abusive behaviour. No one wants to believe their child could be abusive. Emotion can "muddy the waters," make us question whether or not things are as "bad" as our gut tells us they are. Ask yourself: if your child was anyone else – a neighbour, a co-worker – would you still be blaming yourself for it? The truth is, there can be several underlying factors contributing to parental abuse including poor boundaries, substance abuse (by either a parent or child), poor coping skills, underlying psychological conditions (such as ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder) and learned behaviour. Some kids behave violently due to poor coping skills. Others are more deliberate and enjoy the power that comes from intimidating a parent. Remember: we can try to understand what's going on in any situation, but there is no excuse or rationale for abusive behaviour.

Muneeb Ahmed,

Prevent cyberbullying

For countless children, being bullied has been a tough reality of growing up. Although teasing and poking fun at others has always happened on the playground, bullying has long-lasting effects on the daily lives of some victims. Unfortunately, internet access and social media have magnified the problem of bullying. The anonymity of the internet has allowed youth to be subjected to more ferocious bullying than ever before. Unlike previous forms of bullying, cyberbullying can be far worse and is becoming more and more common. With the increased cruelty of cyberbullying comes a deeper impact on those involved. The effects of cyberbullying are in many ways worse than traditional bullying, infiltrating every part of a victim’s life and causing psychological struggles. In some cases, teens have taken their own lives because they were victims of vicious cyberbullies. If you’re being bullied online, first thing you need to do is block that person and not respond. Many websites provide options of reporting bullying directly. But the most important thing is to ensure you’re safe, so try speaking to a trusted adult – someone you feel safe talking to – is one of the most important first steps you can take. Talking to parents isn’t easy for everyone. But there are things you can do to help the conversation. Choose a time to talk when you know you have their full attention. Explain how serious the problem is for you. Remember, they might not be as familiar with technology as you are, so you might need to help them to understand what’s happening. They might not have instant answers for you, but they are likely to want to help and together you can find a solution. Two heads are always better than one! If you are still unsure about what to do, consider reaching out to other trusted people. There are often more people who care about you and are willing to help than you might think.

Mahnoor Arshad,