Relationship between Parents and their kids (Study conducted in Mount-Lebanon)
By Rozan Yehya.
The Topic of this paper is about obstacles facing relationship between parents and their kids. Parents play a critical role in shaping their children’s values, beliefs, and behaviors, and the relationship between them has a significant impact on the child’s overall well-being. However, these obstacles grow and shrink according to the level of awareness and culture of the society, as is the case in Lebanon.
This paper highlights some of these obstacles and tries to study its impact especially in the Mount-Lebanon area, plus the external affects such as COVID-19 and finally tries to highlight a solution that might be ignored by many people in the region of interest. In this case it is the help of a social worker, phycologist or specialized counselor.
One of the most beautiful things that happens to a person is having a child, but he does not know that behind this beautiful thing there are a lot of responsibilities that he may not expect. This relationship between parents and children is controlled by many confrontations and problems, especially when parents try to form an ideal personality from this child according to their desires and whims. So, this relationship becomes based on comparisons with others and is always determined by the extent of the failure or success of the children. This relationship is the base for building a healthy society, and given its importance, we must highlight the obstacles that may be encountered and try to provide possible solutions that will help fix those obstacles.
Additionally, the major crisis which hit Lebanon in the past 4 years, has made the economic, social and security conditions very bad and almost the sole interest of every Lebanese to try to overcome the situation and try to survive in these conditions, which made the family problems and relations between parents and their children the least concern for most Lebanese. In the following conducted in Mount-Lebanon, I am trying to highlight these issues and its effect on the overall society in general and on the parents-children relations in specially.
Obstacles facing Parents-Children Relationships
A. First Obstacle:
Despite the rationality of the father’s absence in some cases, there is another absence that the father imposes even when he is present. A father who is isolated from his children and who does not care to sit with them, talk to them, or discuss with them and meet their needs is one of the most severe types of absence that affects children, as it represents to them that absence The default is a kind of emotional abuse that makes them feel anxious and insecure. The absence of the father represents the absence of his effective role, which is concerned with moral, social, and material support for the children.
Despite the different reasons for absence from work, death, imprisonment, or the evasion of some parents from their responsibility, some children are considered the first victims of that absence, especially when there is no one to provide them with a suitable mature alternative. Studies confirm that one of the most important reasons for children’s academic failure, deviant behavior, and increased violence is the absence of the father or the absence of his role and lack of contact with his children.
In addition, the absence of the father represents the absence of one of the most important intellectual aspects of the children, which makes the children lose the opportunity to form knowledge and values in an integrated, exemplary manner.
B. Second Obstacle:
Although the mother’s presence may cure many of the disadvantages of the father’s absence, this treatment requires a mother who possesses self-knowledge and emotional capabilities, such as: self-confidence, strength in personality, firmness, a balanced emotion, and broad-mindedness that enables her to manage her children’s emotions in a way that protects them from falling into deviations. Behavioral or expected failure, due to the absence of the real enforcer, who traditionally is the father.
The mature mother is fully aware that the child’s anxiety is inevitable and logical as a result of losing the meaning of fatherhood. With this moderate knowledge, she becomes more able to determine the needs of her children, and thus to determine the means through which she is able to bridge the gaps and gaps and fill their lives with balanced ideas and values that mitigate their psychological and social burdens.
Michael Lamb , a psychologist from the University of Cambridge, who has been studying the role of fathers since the seventies of the last century, says: “The studies focused on the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with the mother, but they did not pay attention to other social relationships within the family, especially the relationship between the father and his child. This relationship, despite its importance, was second only to the mother’s relationship with her child
“Ninety-nine percent of child-rearing research focuses on mothers, even though fathers make up half of all parents,” says Marianne Beckermans-Krannenberg of Vrije Universität Amsterdam who studies family relationships.
And new research has proven that children’s social lives are richer and more complex than we thought. The researchers realized that the responsibility of caring for the child is not assumed by one
person only, and they paid attention to the role of parents, grandparents, and mother’s husbands in the proper upbringing of the child.
“I have been trying for 45 years to draw attention to the existence of other important relationships that contribute to shaping a child’s personality from childhood,” says Lamb
A study conducted by psychologist Ruth Feldman , from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, indicated that the level of the hormone oxytocin, which is responsible for strengthening social bonds between fathers or mothers and children, rises in the blood of parents when they take care of their young. Another study showed that when fathers take on the responsibility of taking care of their children in the absence of mothers, they activate the same areas of the brain that activate mothers to adapt to the task.
A long-term study published in the “Child Psychology and Psychology” journal proved that the emotional interaction between the father and the infant predicts the proper mental and psychological development of the child. The more parents interact with infants emotionally, the less chances of behavioral problems appearing in the child in the later stages of life, and vice versa. The more the parents, or those who take their place, support the children emotionally at a young age, the greater the child’s satisfaction with life later, and the better his relationship with his teachers and colleagues.
In this regard, I wanted to reference a video for Jordan Peterson titled: “Your Parents want to have the best relationship with you” , that best describes the fathers’ role in a parent-child relationship and help fathers ask vital questions to enable them to act properly such as:
- What is the eternal spirit of the redeeming father
- What stupid things am I doing that I could or would stop doing, that are interfering with me being that great father
And he moves on explaining how it is very difficult to be courageous without the encouragement of the father, and how fathers can be an encouragement force but can be a tyrannical and crushing force. In summary, Jordan Peterson is delivering a necessary message to fathers on how to be a constructive force in their children’s lives.
To have a better idea, you can watch the full video on the link below:
C. Third Obstacle:
As we all know that the Corona virus pandemic has had a great impact on many life matters and social, psychological and other human-related relationships, and this was obvious in the area where this study was conducted (Mount-Lebanon). However, despite the presence of the family together most of the time at home, addiction to the Internet has increased, as well as loneliness, solitude, and introversion, due to boredom and unwillingness to continue the daily routine that many people were not satisfied with.
This isolation on a personal level also led to a high rate of problems between spouses, due to their inability to control their children, how to spend time on the Internet and the inability to find alternatives for children. This led to anxiety and depression in children because of the lack of their friends, and because of the low general level of well-being of the child in particular, and of the whole family in general.
However, there are a number of families who tried very hard to invest time with their children and their families during the pandemic period, which was the largest share for some children to improve their relationship with their parents, given that they are with them most of the time. The parents used that time to develop the child’s mental health and try to compensate him for the time he missed outside the home and the luxury among friends by spending enough time with them and trying to develop their abilities and talents.
D. Fourth Obstacle:
As for Lebanon, a special story with Corona, I will present a small part of the suffering of adolescents… The economic crisis that Lebanon is suffering from, combined with the spread of the Corona pandemic and the closure decisions taken by the Lebanese government to control it, exhausted Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian adolescents residing in Lebanon, especially in the poor areas of Lebanon and where there are refugee camps such as in Bekaa and north Lebanon.
Interview with a 15-year-old Student: Zeina by Rozan Yehya May /2023
“I feel a lot of depression at home since the start of the quarantine… I don’t leave the house and our financial condition has become very bad. I feel sad most of the time and worry about my future… I am very worried about my family because we can’t buy food, especially after the strangely high prices. My mother sits every day near the window and cries because she is worried about us and our future. I feel sad to see her in this condition,” says Zeina. (Zeina, Student, 2023),
Interview with a 17-year-old Syrian refugee: Lulu by Rozan Yehya May/2023
As for Lulu, a 17-year-old Syrian refugee who has been married for a year, she says: “Life was originally difficult. Now, with the epidemic, it has become even more difficult. My circumstances have become unbearable with the passage of time. I am suffering with my newborn and I do not know what to do when he cries. My mother is in Syria and she can’t be with me because of the situation, to help me with the baby. My husband is unemployed and always quarrels with me because he is tense because of our financial situation. The prices have risen a lot and we can’t buy anything. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to buy milk and diapers for my son. I’m tired of life and I can’t get out of it. This clearly shows the danger of the situation where it is leading some people to think about ending their lives due to the absence of any hope. (Lulu, 2023)
There are always solutions:
One of the most avoided solutions is getting help and support from a social worker. Social workers have played an important role in supporting children and families who faced challenges related to the absence of the father due to work by:
- Providing emotional support and counseling to help families cope with the stress and anxiety of the father’s absence, and working with the family to develop coping strategies and communication skills that could help them stay connected despite the distance.
- Offering information and resources on how to maintain a healthy relationship with fathers who are working, including tips for staying in touch and managing expectations, and connecting the family with community resources such as support groups or mentorship programs that could provide additional support and guidance.
- Helping the family schedule regular family meetings, even if the father is not physically present, to catch up on each other’s lives and discuss any issues or concerns, and developing a routine that works for everyone, which might include designated times for phone or video calls as well as regular family activities that can be done together, such as watching a movie or playing a game.
- Encouraging open communication between family members, teaching children how to express their feelings and concerns in a healthy way, and helping parents learn how to listen actively and respond empathetically.
Also, social workers across the world and especially in Lebanon have helped support children during the COVID-19 pandemic by:
- Helping families’ access basic needs such as food, housing, and healthcare, especially those who have been affected by the pandemic.
- Providing information and resources to families on how to maintain physical and mental health, including tips for managing stress, getting exercise, and staying engaged in activities that promote well-being.
- Working with schools and educators to ensure that students are receiving the support they need to succeed in remote learning and to address any barriers to learning that may have arisen due to the pandemic.
- Advocating for policies and programs that support families and communities during the pandemic, such as expanded access to healthcare, economic assistance, and affordable housing.
- Providing crisis intervention, emotional support, and counseling to help families cope with the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty related to the pandemic and to address any traumatic events that may have occurred.
- Supporting families in navigating the challenges of caregiving during the pandemic, including caring for children, elderly relatives, or individuals with disabilities, and assisting families in developing safety plans and strategies for coping with isolation, social distancing, and remote learning.
- Connecting families with community resources such as food banks, mental health services, and online support groups that could provide additional support and guidance.
I have conducted interviews with several specialists in the science of psychological counseling, and asked them how can a social worker help enhance the Parent-Children relationship, in the below summary we can find the point of view of these specialist and the solutions they have offer.
Ms. Hanan Badawi Social Worker by Rozan Yehya Date 9 May 2023.
– Social workers can help parents and children navigate difficult life transitions, such as divorce or the death of a family member, in a variety of ways. One way is by providing emotional support and counseling to help families cope with the stress and sadness associated with these transitions. This can include individual therapy sessions or family therapy sessions, where social workers can help family members express their thoughts and feelings and work through their emotions in a safe and supportive environment.
Another way social workers can help families navigate difficult life transitions is by providing education and resources to help families understand and cope with the changes they are experiencing. This can include providing information on coping strategies, stress management techniques, and communication skills, as well as helping families identify their strengths and resources to build resilience.
Ms. Aya Harfoush Social worker by Rozan Yehya Date 16 May 2023.
As a social worker, I suggest some examples of successful interventions that social workers have used to strengthen the relationship between parents and their children. These interventions include parent-child interaction therapy, attachment-based interventions, and behavioral parent training.
For parent-child interaction therapy, social workers work with parents to improve the quality of their interactions with their children. The therapist observes the interactions between the parent and child and provides feedback to help the parent become more responsive and engaging with their child. This intervention has been found to be effective in improving parent-child relationships and reducing behavior problems in children.
Attachment-based interventions focus on strengthening the emotional bond between parents and children. Social workers may work with parents to help them understand their child’s emotional needs and how to respond to them. This intervention has been found to be effective in improving parent-child relationships and reducing behavior problems in children.
Behavioral parent training involves teaching parents’ specific skills to improve their child’s behavior. Social workers may work with parents to develop a behavior plan that sets expectations and consequences for their child’s behavior. This intervention has been found to be effective in reducing behavior problems in children and improving parent-child relationships.
There are many resources that can help me cover as much as possible the difficulties in building a healthy and close family. Such as the articles and interviews mentioned above, additionally, one of these resources is the book “The Indigo Children”  by “Jan Tober” and “Lee Carroll”. The goal of this book is to help highlighting a specific type of difficulties facing some families that have an Indigo child, and some solutions are presented to help such families and to give them information for practical application should they identify with any of subject matter, This book is a must for the parents of unusually bright and active children. Indigo children are those who display a new and unusual set of psychological attributes and show a pattern of behavior generally undocumented before.
In this groundbreaking book about the Indigo Child, the international authors Lee Carroll and Jan Tober report the information of this increasingly documented and worldwide phenomenon. Moreover, they tell you how to identify this behavioral pattern and guide you on how you, as a parent or teacher of these children, can help them realize their amazing potential not forgetting their spiritual needs or specific health issues.
This type of project is very important to become a reference for many, especially in Lebanon, because it is not highlighted, as it is considered secondary compared to the problems that Lebanon is going through.
In order for the social worker to perform his/her role more effectively, the following steps must be followed:
, Social Study: It is used to obtain information from the family and selected facts.
Accurately, according to the situation and nature.
– Diagnosis: in which the case is explained, taking into account personal factors and the environment, while linking them to the goals of the case owner.
Treatment: It shows the steps to improve the social function of the family by controlling the environment and influencing behavior by strengthening the adaptation within the family.
– Raising the level of performance and the level of advanced services in the family field.
The role of the social worker in the family field:
- Discovering cases and finding out about the conditions of the family whose condition requires intervention through interviews, records and reports.
- Helping families organize their efforts to solve their problems and raise their standard of living according to an agreed upon plan between the two parties.
- Benefit from the positive and negative effects of social phenomena related to the family
Some family problems require the intervention of the social worker in family life to solve these problems, which are directly reflected in the child’s behavior. However, many obstacles prevent this intervention, especially in the traditionally conservative Lebanese society. Accordingly, this study attempts to shed light on the extent of the social counselor’s intervention in family counseling in Lebanese schools, the model of the city of Sidon.
Likewise, the schools lack family mentors, and that is limited to traditional guides (guidance and guidance).
Growing family problems, and its impact on the educational process of the children, in addition to its impact on building his relationships with his classmates and teachers.
Involving the parents (mother and father) in solving the problems that the children suffer from, which may appear to be related only to educational problems, but are affected directly or indirectly by the problems that the family suffers from in general. We do not mean by problems only those that exist between the mother and father, but they may also be problems Material…
As for my own experience with my son, who did not adapt with children easily, because of the following reasons:
- He thinks more deeply than others kids of his age.
- He does not like football
- He was very obsessed with animals, and he enjoyed collecting accurate information about animals and was his only subject to talk about with everyone.
- The other children did not accept it and started to escape from him and bully him; hence the suffering began, and I was an inexperienced mother in order to help him. I tried finding solutions by trying to get help from our parents and friends, but a big help was from the social worker at his school where she helped him by giving him advices and new strategies to deal with the kids around him.
The social worker summoned everyone who had a direct relationship with my son, including teachers and principals in charge of student affairs, and asked them to give indirect lectures to the students about the differences between them and the importance of respecting differences. Without my son realizing that he is the goal behind the lectures… Soon after, my son began to merge with his friends.
After conducting this study, I realized the importance of the parent-children relationship effect on the whole society and culture of any country or even specific regions within the country. And consequently the growing awareness of the need to pay attention to the problems that the family suffers from, and their effect on society and individuals, and in an effort to reduce these effects, so that they do not worsen the stability of society and the psychological stability of individuals, an urgent need emerges for specialized people in social and family counseling, which will help solve the parent-children relationships before it spreads and destroys the whole society.
Therefore, it is necessary to shed light on this issue it is too late.
- Lamb, Michael E. The Role of the Father in Child Development, (2010).
- (Peterson, “Your kids want to have the best relationship with you” video, 2023)
- Lee Carroll and Jan Tober, The Indigo Children.(1999)
- Al-Gharbia, Faisal Mahmoud, Social Work with the Family and Childhood, (2012).
Michael E. Lamb is a professor and former Head of the then Department of Social and Developmental Psychology at the University of Cambridge. In 2003 Lamb was the recipient of the 2003–2004 James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science, Article: “The Role of the Father in Child Development” by M. R. Lamb.
Ruth Feldman: is the Simms-Mann Professor of Development Social Neuroscience at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzlia with joint appointment at Yale Child Study Center, Article: “The Role of the Father in Child Development” by M. R. Lamb.
 Indigo children are children who are believed to possess special and unusual traits or abilities. The idea is based on concepts developed in the 1970s by Nancy Ann Tappe, who claimed to have been noticing indigo children beginning in the late 1960s.
 Faisal Mahmoud Al-Gharbia, Social Work with the Family and Childhood, I, 1, Dar Wael for Publishing and Distribution, 2012