Monday, January 8, 2018

TREAT THEM AS FRIENDS (Age Group 15 to 21 - Part 2)

 Role of Parents - Non Playing Captain

Views, needs and expressions of child, after reaching the stage of puberty, changes dramatically. Sometimes this change is so great that we are surprised and overwhelmed. When parents suddenly come across these changes, many times abrupt and unexpected, not knowing how to reconcile; they tend to worry. Anxiety, anger, annoyance, guilt, fear, hatred, uneasiness, helplessness are often the feelings which storm up in the minds of the parents. They don’t know how to be patient and support children at the same time. To find a way out, parents need to go to the root of the issue.

Problems related to Teen Agers

1. Sex, Alcohol and Drugs
2. Increased Use of Communication Devices and Social Media
3. Mood Swings
4. Aggression
5. Lying or Hiding Facts
6. Defying Rules and Arguing
7. Drastic Changes in Appearance
8. Decreased Communication
9. Spending more Time with Friends
10. Indecisiveness

Reasons of Tensions in  Young Age

In today’s rapid world; where information is processed and circulated on a great scale, young generation have to suffer on many accounts. Some of the reasons for the tensions could be:

                   Self-expectations and expectation from others.
                   Pressure from school teachers & coaches.
                   Homework and marks in unit tests.
                   Tussles and arguments between classmates.
                   Conflicts and arguments between parents and siblings.
                   Physical & biological changes due to puberty.
                   Lack of self-respect, inferiority complex.
                   Tensions and arguments between parents or in family.
                   Frequency of family problems.
                   Occasional unlucky incidents happening in a family (accidents, serious illness, surgeries etc.).
                   Disputes between close friends.
                   Criminal, arrogant atmosphere in locality.
                   Tension due to migration / transfers.
                   Events of terrorism and violence in locality.
                   Admission to new school or college.
                   Participation in various sports and cultural competition in academic life.
                   Problems related to job.
                   Too much travelling and too much inconvenience. 
                   Addictions of parents.
                   Admission problems in expected/desired school, college or faculty.
                   Emotional stress due to sexual attraction.


Young children face tension due to some of the reasons given above also may be various other reasons. Child spends most of his time during this age at home and in school/college. Therefore it is more possible that root cause of tension can be found in home or college.

Response to the stress / tension.

Many young children of this age try to get friendly advice or support from others to get rid of the tension. With this support, on many occasions; these young children solve their problems and find a way out. They may select solution to their stress through means such as playing music, listening songs, watching TV, playing games. They may also seek advice from family members and close friends. We can call such solutions positive and proper. These kinds of measures inculcate habit of independently finding solutions to adverse situation.

But children who haven’t achieved balance of their mind till this period and who are grown up in a less caring environment, may consider above tensions as big burden. They soon find these tensions unbearable. As a result they experience depression, aggressiveness, health problems, self-destructive feelings or fall victim to addiction in life. If parents have to face these kinds of results out of blues, their world gets upside down or suddenly atmosphere in home becomes serious and complicated.

Role of Parents

In such situation parents should not lose their patience and hope. It is important that they should try to keep their calm. They should try to gain confidence of their child who is suffering from strong emotions upsurge and try to calm him down. They should try to understand the problems of children and go to the root to search which series of incidents has resulted in a current situation. Then on the basis of this information, parents should try to understand the complexity of problem and evaluate every available option to get out of mess. Parents must systematically present all the remedy options to the child and encourage the troubled child to choose best suitable option. Parents should also make child understand possible consequences of his choice and encourage him to choose the correct one. Parents can provide necessary guidance and support in this regard. This process of counselling is like tough examination, but as storm settles down, parents experience enormous relief.

Useful Things To Avoid Tension

If young life is walking down the wrong path; tensions will become severe. Some useful things to reduce tension are as follows:

             Having timely and square meal. Avoid outside, spicy and roadside food.
             Regular exercise and yoga.
             Avoiding excess tea or coffee.
             Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, drugs, etc.
             Enough sleep, rest at night. Avoiding staying awake in the night.
             Using relaxation techniques.
             Trying to develop calm, firm and positive attitude.
             Developing hobbies such as sightseeing, drawing, music, dance, drama, etc.
             Cultivating hobbies.
             Reading inspiring biographies.
             Participating in social service activities with friends.
            Respecting elders. Resolving to create gratefulness, attitude of selfless service and              nurturing it with honesty.
         Staying away from vulgar and emotionally disturbing scenes on TV, internet, advertisement and other publicity media deliberately and with determination.
        Avoid chasing temporary attraction and happiness and behaving properly by doing long term thinking about life.

Non Playing Captain

Mostly parents make following statements while guiding their children:

                   This has to be right for you as it was right for me when I was of your age.
                   We try to keep you totally safe and secure.
                   I want you to do big things but only in the way I tell you.
                   You can choose the career from the options I have given to you.
                   Didn’t I tell you? I did not do this when I was young and now I deeply regret it. Why don’t you attempt it? Give it a try.

If parents look at their children as their own extension then problems will arise. Famous psychiatrist and thinker Dr. Anand Nadkarni failed in his M.B.B.S exam in his young age. The story about how his parents helped him is given in his Marathi book ‘Swabhav Vaibhav’.

“In that situation my parents did not take complete responsibility of finding a solution for me. But helped me to find one. First they asked me my opinion. When our opinions matched, they immediately asked me to get going. Where our opinions didn’t match they discussed the problem and solution from a different angle giving their point of view. If I tried to impose my point of view they firmly and clearly put forward what they felt. While contradicting my point they never emphasized my lack of experience or their abundant experience due to elderly age. Their argument used to be to the point. Even after this if I stick to my point of view, they used to warn me about the dangerous consequences of my decisions and their worries. They wouldn’t say anything further. If I got angry, they would tell me so and stop discussion on that topic then and there temporarily.”

Ten Principles for Parenting Your Teen

1.   Remember, parents matter. Make a difference in the life of your teen by providing guidance and support. At times, it may seem like your teen does not want you around. However, your child really does need you and needs to know you care.
2.   Stay warm and close. It’s impossible to love your teen too much. Spend time together at meals, and remember to say, “I love you.”
3.   Stay involved with your teen’s life. Ask questions about schoolwork and friends, and attend your teen’s extracurricular activities. Teens need to know you are interested in them just as much now as you were when they were younger.
4.   Set limits and provide structure. Clearly communicate your expectations to your teen. Rules and expectations should change throughout your child’s life, but children of all ages need clear rules.
5.   Enforce rules and consequences. Let your teen know what the consequences of breaking rules will be ahead of time. Follow through on enforcing punishments.
6.   Be consistent.  Both parents should discuss and agree on basic parenting principles for guiding their children. Then, be consistent each day and in every situation. Mixed messages from parents can lead to frustration for both parents and children. Children need consistency to help them structure their lives.
7.   Explain yourself and engage your teen in decisions and conversations. Discuss the reasons for rules and consequences with your teen. This does not mean that the rules or consequences will change, but it will help your teen understand your reasons and respect you. Teens don’t respect authority when it seems arbitrary.
8.   Don’t use harsh discipline. Harsh discipline, like yelling or slapping, is not an effective long-term approach to discipline. Do not discipline your teen when you are angry. Instead, make arrangements to talk to your teen at a later time when wisdom and good judgment, not anger, will guide your discipline choices.
9.  Treat your teen with respect. Your teen is growing up. Acknowledge your teen’s increasing independence and ability to make decisions. Guide your teen in making positive choices, but realize that he or she will make mistakes.

1   Understand adolescence is a period of change—for parents and children. As a parent, you are changing as you develop new information and skills to help guide your teen. Your teen is changing physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Look for resources to help you understand the changes your teen is going through. Such resources include other parents of teens, and books. Remember, your relationship with your teen is changing, not ending.

Parenting teens has always been an art and a science. But once you go through this with patience and perseverance, the end is always richly rewarding not only for the child but also for parents.

Vijay R. Joshi.

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