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Not the biological mother

Is there a problem that is irking you for a long time? Dr Jitendra Nagpal guides you through your problems in love, life and relationships.

india Updated: Oct 08, 2008 18:46 IST

We have been married for six years, but I recently got to know that owing to medical reasons, I would not be able to bear a child. I am 34 and my husband is 36. Now we have decided to adopt a child. However I have a lot of apprehensions regarding adoption. Please help me solve this problem.

The decision to adopt is often fraught with apprehensions. As part of social perception couples find it extremely hard to decide on accepting an unrelated child into the family. At the same time, you might be craving for parenthood to fill the void in your lives. Parenting ought to be seen as a contribution to the fond nurturing of another human being. Adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. However, the adoption process can be emotionally trying and time consuming. Parenting an adopted child too requires the same boundless love and affection that goes into raising a biological child. You will go through the same tantrums and the same demands that a biological child would make. If you get mentally prepared for raising an adopted kid, you will then have much better bonding with the child. So go ahead and experience the charm and the challenge.

My 14-year-old son is passionate about music. He wants to pursue a career in music but because of this he has not been concentrating on his studies. I don’t mind his career choice but I want him to at least complete his graduation. If I tell him anything, he always gets me wrong. What should I do?

There is no doubt that you must refrain from discouraging your child from following his dreams. It’s good to know that you want him to do what he aspires. Parents have the greatest influence on their child’s career choices. You know your child better than anyone else and have more interest in helping your child choose a rewarding career than anyone else. Your child’s future is too important to be left to luck or chance. Children need well dissected guidance to choose the best from the education. Set appropriate and achievable goals for your child. Help him understand that his primary goal should be to complete his education and the long term career goal may indeed be the pursuance of music. Also, appreciate that you completely acknowledge his dreams and are going to support him throughout this journey. This assurance can itself be greatly empowering and motivating for the child.

I am 26-years-old and married for three years now. My husband often accuses me of being too “demanding”. I try to be careful about how I discuss and ask for what I want, but he tends to get defensive and withdrawn. Is there a way I can reach out to him without making him feel I’m trying to control him?

There are two possibilities here. The first is that your partner is emotionally wounded and has serious reluctance in giving love without feeling that he is losing something in the process. Maybe, he spent his childhood always giving and hardly receiving anything. May be he had a mother who leaned on him for the love, affection and support she should have received from her husband. This would result in despising the spouse/women who appears needy, and therefore, no matter what you say, he will always feel you are too demanding.

Unfortunately for the man here, the perfect relationship is one in which the woman asks for nothing and gracefully accepts whatever she can get from him. Secondly, it is likely that he is interpreting the expression of your needs as criticisms of his performance in the relationship. As for what you can do, keep the chord of caring companionship going strong with enough communication. Be sure that you are giving your partner a positive message about being happy in the relationship. With time he will feel the comfort and open up and be forthcoming.

Dr Jitendra Nagpal is Sr Consultant Psychiatrist, VIMHANS and Moolchand Hospital, New Delhi, and Programme Director, ‘Expressions India’ — The Life Skills Education and Community Mental Health Programme