Do Our Children Need Counselling?

By Dr Sr Judith Lewis UFS
Sr Dr Judy Lewis UFS, Sampoorna Counselling cell, St Ursula Convent, Bolar, Mangalore has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Counselling from St Thomas University, Manila, Philippines. She is part time visiting professor and counsellor at various Religious Institutions and at Little Rock Indian School, Chanthar, Brahmavar. You can reach her through Email: judylewis77@gmail.com; Contact No. 9535309187.
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May 1, 2019

Time and again, we hear vociferous demands being made nowadays by the academicians regarding the need for qualified counsellors in our schools. Times have changed and the background of children that we admit into our schools is totally different from some decades ago; we get children from nuclear families, over protected, pampered, nevertheless living in lonely ambience, many a time without siblings, with no opportunities for interaction, communication so on and soforth are the reasons highlighted for the demand.

No one can deny that there is no truth in these statements, just let us look at ourselves, how we have grown up. Our childhood background, at least in rural areas, was entirely different from the present generation children. Our homes were open, in the sense most of the houses in the village had no doors, even if there were, hardly they were closed, rather kept permanently open. This itself shows the open, transparent atmosphere of mutual availability, public nature of daily living and mutual interactions and communications. How much time we actually spent ‘inside’ the home, but for food and sleep? We were most of the day in the open air, mingling with all neighbouring children of all creeds, castes and groups, either working in the garden, or playing with friends or just rattling stories and running here and there aimlessly.

This does not mean that olden days ‘counselling’ was not needed for children and presently it is a ‘must’. This is to misunderstand the role of counselling in one’s life. We need to distinguish two perspectives or two functions of counselling. One is the positive aspect of counselling – it is the guidance given, enlightenment provided to a child that grows up, regarding its own potentialities, aptitudes and future orientations. This is necessary for every child in the school so that the children unfold their personalities and grow up with a strong sense of self-understanding of themselves. They learn to make right choices in their academic career with an understanding of themselves, what they can do and achieve spontaneously and what is not their cup of drink.

Then there is another perspective or curative aspect of counselling, orientated towards the reform and renewal of their lives. Willy-nilly children are prone to fall into the pit of their own weaknesses, make wrong choices, get into bad habits, neglect studies and become ‘problematic’ to others. They need to ‘reform’ their lives. A counsellor can play the role of a facilitator in such cases. These children need a lot of help to bring them back to their senses, to understand the meaning of their life and its goals, thus create in them a desire to reform themselves, which gradually can become a determination strengthened by a strong will to climb higher and higher on the ladder of life attainments.

This explanation can bring to light the hollowness of the argument that olden days children did not need counselling and present day it is urgent. May be olden days, the society or the educational system never cared to provide guidance to make right choices, as a result they made innumerable wrong choices resulting in frustrations during the later stages of life. We can also affirm that society neglected to provide sufficient help to reform the character and behaviour of children who drifted away from the right path. We can fairly well affirm that counselling is a need for all children of all times and of all backgrounds. What we can appreciate is the new awareness created among the elite educated of the society to provide counselling in all schools and to all children. This might be also due to enormous increase in the number of children being admitted from broken/divorced families. Now the awareness should give rise to concrete results. Few schools, especially the public schools are attempting to provide counselling to ‘all’ children, which is a laudable step.

Here, let me amplify the point of guidance provided to children to make right academic options as the SSLC and PUC results are just out in the public. This is the right time for parents to sit with their ward in the presence of a good counsellor and to analyse the options available to choose on the one hand and the basic potentialities and aptitudes of the child on the other. No doubt, we need to remember that we are living in a competitive world, where the ‘survival of the fittest’ appears to be the norm of success in life. Such being the case, the purpose of choosing a proper stream of academic curricula in which the candidate can attain excellence should be the prime guiding principle of making right choice. Employment opportunities are in abundance for those who attain excellence and very rare for those who are below average. Hence which stream is the ‘best’ for me given my capacities, aptitudes and natural talents should be the focus in selecting a stream. Let me urge you dear children to stop comparing yourself with your friends, where they are opting to go and what they are opting to do. Their talents and aptitudes may be totally different from yours. Your sole focus should be on your capacities to attain best results in a particular stream of academics. Counsellor can give you some aptitude tests, analyse your academic background, your natural talents and help you to make right choice, which may not look very glamorous and attractive at first. I know a friend of mine who completed his CA and then took up music as his career. He became a lead guitarist and told me that he is earning equally good in the entertainment industry, besides finding immense fulfilment in his job. Then I thought to myself, why he wasted so much of his energy and time to get through the professional qualification like chartered accountant, a crystal clear case of wrong academic choice in life.

Let me come back to our main point of need for counselling in schools. In the context of a school, it is important to see that every teacher is trained in basic skills of counselling. The career of a teacher is different from that of a lecturer; a teacher constantly interacts with the children. Whether you are a lecturer or a teacher, you can be at the same time a counsellor par excellance: if you are a lecturer interested only in proclaiming epistemological theories, you can never be a Counsellor; similarly, if you are a teacher who is motivated by only academic grades, to display ‘high academic scores’ of every pupil, then you also cannot claim to be a Counsellor. This leads us to the conclusion, that counselling is not merely a qualification, but also an ‘attitude’, whether you are oriented towards the holistic growth of your wards or only in ranking and high grade transcripts.

What we can suggest is that the transcripts of our school should display not merely the academic scores, but also provide space to display the psycho-ethical characteristics and the personality traits of the child, like general behaviour, attitude and capacity to adjust and go on with other classmates, motivation to help and support others, openness to discipline, basic talents and potentialities and the like.

All children should be taught to be grateful to their parents who are the best counsellors. Providence has provided them from the time they saw the light of the day; it is they who moulded their lives into what they are today. It is the duty of all teachers to appreciate and utter a word of praise to every parent they meet in the context of their career as teachers.

Dr Sr Judith Lewis Archives:

Comment on this article

  • readerwriter007, pune

    Mon, May 13 2019

    to all those who feels not required... you are wrong... I was under same impression that our children don't need counselling ... if taken care well, with loving parents, going to descent school, under the loving coverage by grand parents... if these things are taken care, my assumption was that children will be ok and they don't need counselling. But I and you are also wrong if you are having same impression. With all these in place, few children ( based on their base nature ) will show irregularities in their behaviour... in their school... get in to some unhealthy issues, take some bad names from the teachers... still it can happen. That's when you will try all possible remedies ... but finally you will be feeling to look for options like Counselling.

    Agree [1]

  • Sr. Lucy, Bangalore

    Sun, May 12 2019

    Congratulations dear sister Judy.It's a very good informative article.

    Agree [3]

  • Gavin, Mangalore/USA.

    Thu, May 9 2019

    Congratulations and my best wishes Dear Sister. Very nice and thought provoking article. God bless you Dear Sister Judy.

    Agree [6]

  • joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Wed, May 8 2019

    It is good to see that someone from the religious background has taken the responsibility of counselling. This indeed is the need of the day.

    There are various needs …. starting from student counselling to adult counselling. There is also the need to help drug addicts.

    I join scores of people in saying kudos to sister Judith Sequeira. May she be guided by The Holy Spirit as she carries out her MISSJION.

    Agree [9]

  • Dane, Mangalore

    Tue, May 7 2019

    Congratulations dear sister Judy.It's a very good informative article. Please help parents too for counselling in school. More and more people are becoming aware of the need for counselling.

    Agree [9]

  • saritha, Mangalore

    Tue, May 7 2019

    Parents and their children will experience conflict therefore parents also need to be given counselling.

    Agree [10]

  • Sr Lily Fernandes, Mysuru

    Mon, May 6 2019

    Dear Sr Judy,
    Congratulations! Well written! Many of us think that counselling is taken only when one is mentally disturbed. Your article clearly points out that counselling is a type of guidance, a direction, a path finder. Thank you for sharing your views. In my opinion the parents too need counselling. With so much of cut throat competition the parents put a lot of pressure on their children which itself is very harmful. Educate the parents too with your inspiring articles. Keep writing!

    Agree [10]

  • Anitha, Mangalore/USA.

    Mon, May 6 2019

    Counselling Techniques are necessary for all of us. We need to help ourselves and also help others, so that we build up a network of balanced and psychologically healthy people. Therefore we need someone who is trained to listen to our feelings and emotions. Because of this reason Counselling is made obligatory in many departments of civic society. (Schools, colleges, hospitals, communities, Formation houses, corporate level).

    Agree [8]

  • ROHAN, THOTTAM/UAE

    Mon, May 6 2019

    Congratulations and my best wishes Dear Sister. It's a very good informative article.

    Agree [7]

  • Leena, UK./Bangalore

    Sun, May 5 2019

    Very informative article dear sister Judy.

    Agree [8]

  • Joythi, Mangalore

    Sat, May 4 2019

    Very good one.

    Agree [8]

  • Sr.Jessy, Bangalore

    Sat, May 4 2019

    Dear Sister Judy, Well written.

    Agree [10]

  • Reginald, Kuwait.

    Fri, May 3 2019

    Very informative and good article on Do Our Children Need Counselling?

    Agree [8]

  • Sr.Jose, Bangalore

    Fri, May 3 2019

    Dear Sr Judy,
    Congratulations! Written very well.

    Agree [10]

  • Sr Leena D'Souza, ShanthiDham, Katipalla, Mangalore

    Fri, May 3 2019

    Dear Sr Judy,
    Congratulations! Written very well. Apt article to the present society.

    Agree [9]

  • Anju, Mangalore

    Fri, May 3 2019

    Congratulations!!! sister Judy on writing good articles in Daiji World .

    Agree [9]

  • Joswin, Mumbai

    Thu, May 2 2019

    Congrats sister very good article.

    Agree [10]

  • Veera, Mangalore/USA.

    Thu, May 2 2019

    The basic skills of Counselling are necessary for every teacher in order to deal properly with children and to help them The teachers have to incorporate the counselling skills into the methodology of their teaching, so that they can influence the behaviour and conduct of children even outside the class room. also In seminaries, formation house too counsellors need to be there.

    Agree [15]

  • Derick, Kuwait.

    Thu, May 2 2019

    Dear Sr. Judy Very nicely written.Teacher are need to be trained in basic skills of counselling.

    Agree [14]

  • Shanthi, UK./Bangalore

    Thu, May 2 2019

    Congratulations Very nicely written.

    Agree [12]

  • Shanthi, UK./Bangalore

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Dear Sister Judy Very informative article.

    Agree [10]

  • Noel Pereira, Toronto/Mangalore

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Well written. I would suggest that parents need counselling too. They want their children either to be doctors, engineers( preferably in computers engineering),managers(MBA) while there are many other fields of studies/ career opportunities.They simply follow what they knew from their olden days or hearing from other people of same age. They are out of touch with rapid changes in industry/ society.In other countries they have full time counsellors, regular parent teacher meetings.

    Agree [13]

  • Latha, Bangalore

    Wed, May 1 2019

    My dear Sr. Judy, Congratulations! Well written article, very informative and educative.

    Agree [15]

  • Thomas, Mangalore

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Very nice and thought provoking article.

    Agree [15]

  • Same, Kuwait.

    Wed, May 1 2019

    It is important to see that every teacher is trained in basic skills of counselling.

    Agree [16]

  • Diana, Udavara/udupi

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Congratulations Very nicely written.

    Agree [16]

  • Jason, Udupi/ Thottam

    Wed, May 1 2019

    MY dear Loving Judy
    Hearty congratulations to you for the inspiring and thought provoking article.

    Agree [16]

  • Arun D souza, Mogarnad/Saripalla

    Wed, May 1 2019

    The Present article is timely to the growing up children. Children need guidance and counselling in every steps of their life. We live in a competitive and compromising world. many times values are diluted and given up for the sake of popularity and power. in this juncture we need re value our life and come back to the reality. Thank you Sr Judith for article.

    Agree [20]

  • veena Maria, Bangalore/ Dubai

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Dear Sr. Judy Very nicely written.Looking forward for many more articles from you.

    Agree [18]

  • Sameer, Mangalore

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Congratulations!!! sister Judy on writing a number of articles in Daiji World and publishing papers. I am Very happy that you have taken time to address the Present real life issues. Great keep it up ! Write many more articles that the young generation and we as parents get inspired. Good luck and hoping to read the next article. God bless

    Agree [17]

  • Fr Vincent D Souza, Capuchin, Vimukti, Banakal, Mudigere Taluk

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Dear Sr Judy,
    Congratulations. The above article is well written. Child Counseling is the need of the hour. Due to modernization and modern life style children face a lot of problems. Sometimes the parents themselves find difficult to understand their children. The modern child related problems are at rise. So child counseling is very much needed for the holistic growth of the children. The above article brings an awareness on child counseling. Thanks for the informative article.

    Agree [16]

  • Nanu Marol, Thottam

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Dear Sr Judy....

    Congratulations and My Best Wishes.You are bringing out the APT topics which are need of the hour to present Generation.You had visualised and narrated our Younger days Life deffinetely you took back me to Thottam and Helped me to recollect our Life.Yes Absolutely you are right sister.Current Generation is needed Counselling in every step of their Life.So many un Imagined incidents are reporting every day which very sad to note.With Proper Guidance and Counselling we can atleast try to control the such Incidents.

    Well done Sr Judy.Looking forward for such articles from you.

    Nanu Marol Thottam

    Agree [19]

  • Elvita Ferrao, Mangaluru

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Today parents, teachers, counsellor, elders need to give a helping hand and be a guiding friend in regard to help the children specially who are confused to discern well.

    Agree [17]

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Once children reach the stage of puberty, they do not find a need to discuss anything with the parents.

    By this time most communication between the children and the parents comes to an end. And the focus shifts to social media. This has its own implications.

    So I do believe there is a need for some caring adults to step in and help the adolescents learn some good lessons of life.

    However, how to achieve such an interaction might be something else altogether.

    Agree [16]

  • Rems, Mangaluru

    Wed, May 1 2019

    The biggest and the most overlooked problem ailing Mangalorean catholic society is talking to one's own children in a foreign language. I dont know who started this foolishness. There is so much communication gap between parents and children because of talking in broken English. While all Indian communities are quite comfortable talking in their own language and getting the best of education and jobs for their children, Mangalorean catholics and Goan catholics believe that speaking to children in broken English will help them get jobs ! What a warped and cheap thinking ! Because of this belief, Mangalorean catholic families are robbed of the precious bonding that should take place between parents and children. High time we set aside our pride and openly talk about this problem.

    Agree [28]

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Someone needs to tell our Children that Failure is not the End of the World ...

    Agree [25]

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Katapadi/Bangaluru

    Wed, May 1 2019

    Good to build a stronger foundation with the children when they are young.

    Agree [19]


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