Have you noticed your child throwing things around, shouting or biting? This kind of heightened aggression, finds child psychologist Chandni Mehta, is definitely on the rise.
The counsellor, who runs Jumping Genius Day Care Centre in Prabhadevi and Bandra, decided it was time to organise anger management workshops after parents began complaining about their children.
“Every third or fourth parent would narrate stories about how their child threw an expensive perfume bottle at them, or would consistently yell at them. We also began noticing kids biting each other at the day care,” says Mehta.
Rather than holding personal counselling sessions, Mehta felt a group session would benefit parents more. “I gather a group of about eight to 10 parents, and then organise a workshop. It helps parents develop a network. Sometimes moms are lonely, and this kind of session helps them meet people going through the same problems,” reveals Mehta, who is gearing up for a workshop on May 31.
At the workshops, which last between two to three hours, the psychologist and her team of counsellors figure out the root of the aggression and provide practical solutions too. “The parents and children are made to sit in two different rooms. The first 20 minutes are a sort of meet and greet session. The kids are given toys to play with while we observe them. That is followed by a 30-minute questionnaire - children are asked about their favourite television show and colour, whether they like mummy better or daddy, whether they like their siblings.
“This gives us insight into their personality. For instance, one child loved watching Mahabharata. He identified with Hanuman and used the belan or a hairbrush as a gada (Hanuman’s weapon),” says Mehta.
Parents are asked similar questions to corroborate with the child’s responses. By the end of the session, Mehta and her team is able to understand what is wrong with the child.
“The fourth step involves providing solutions. It could be stuff like cutting down the amount of television, or giving the child more attention. The kid might also be bullied by an older sibling,” says the psychologist.
Mehta, who was a school counsellor at RIMS and Bombay Scottish, says there is no age limit for her workshops. “But I divide the groups according to age -upto six, seven-12 and 12 to about 16,” she adds.