Communication crucial to parent-child relationship

National 2 minutes, 12 seconds


POOR communication and lack of family bonding time have been identified as the common ‘barrier’ to a healthy parent-child relationship, said counsellors recently.

Speaking to The Brunei Times, Hjh Siti Azizah Hj Wahsalfelah, a counselor from the Sayyidina Abu Bakar Secondary School (SMSAB), said that with the emergence of communication barriers such as modern technology, many families are spending less time together, resulting in parents having a poor relationship with their children.

“The common case or what we usually come across during counseling sessions is that parents claim to be too busy with their work to communicate with their children because of other priorities,” she said, adding that some parents ‘do not have time’ to cooperate with the schools.

Denial and lack of parental responsibility was also one of the main challenges that counsellors face when intervening in parent-child issues.

“Some parents who we have called in for counseling have difficulties in accepting that their children may have problems or are facing challenges, so they choose to ignore it rather than to acknowledge it,” she said.

The counsellor added that family problems such as absenteeism, financial problems and lack of love were also issues always brought up by students during the counselling sessions.

“From what I see during counseling is that students are lacking in love and attention from their parents, and maybe this is why it affects them in school. Especially when parents don’t care about their (children’s) well-being,” she said.

“I think if parents take some time off and spend a little time to get to know their own children’s needs, everyone will be happier,” she said.

Assistant Director of the Counseling Section of the Department of Schools Hj Ali Yusri Abdul Ghafor said secondary level students need the most attention, compared to those in primary schools as this is the period when they transition into adults.

He said a study by the counselling section of the Department of Schools was conducted recently on more than 600 secondary school students in Brunei.

The study found that students want parents to be more loving, understanding and attentive.

He said that miscommunication between parents and their children is one of the most common reasons why parents seek counselling from the Department of Schools.

Hj Ali Yusri also added that most students said they wanted their parents to show more affection.

“It really is sad when you hear students asking for affection and unconditional love when parents should be providing this. Parents need to understand that time has changed and showing that (parents) care can make a big difference in their children’s life,” he said.

The Brunei Times