From the desk of a psychologist!

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Teenophobia- The cure

India is rapidly changing as a country. People, thinking, attitudes, relationships almost everything is changing. The equation between parents and children are also going through a huge transition. As we all know by now, change is good but often painful.

I am a person, who witnesses both sides of the coin. I don’t know whether I should take it as an advantage or not because it makes me feel for both and I find myself in a fix. I understand the dilemma both go through on an everyday level.  There are a lot of confusions, frustrations, irritations which leads to utter chaos.

If you are a parent of a teenage child, these are some of the statements you often must have heard,

” You need to trust me”,                  

” If everyone is allowed to do it, why can’t I?”,

” My friends understand me better than you.”

” Why do you compare me, all the time?”

” Why should I do something just because you want me to?”

” What’s your problem with my phone or computer use…It is my life!”

” You are never satisfied or happy with me.”

And as a parent you must have seen yourself repeating these sentences over and over,

” Do you even listen to me.”

” Put the phone down.”

” You need to do this because I say so.”

” Where is your respect?”

” I am just asking for a little responsibility.”

” I have seen the world, trust me.”

The gap, between both of you, all of a sudden looks so huge. Something, somewhere has changed drastically in a couple of years. It is like as a parent you were doing great and now nothing you do is sufficient.

Every day I have at least a couple of sessions which give me the feeling of déjà vu. After dealing with quite a number of these cases, I have understood some things, which  I would like to share with you today:

  • There is a lot of Miscommunication or Lack of communication between an adolescent and parent: While talking to both the parties, I have realized one thing…both have a lot to say to each other, which they never do.

Parents are generally uncomfortable in talking about certain issues, like sex, substance abuse, which leads to them either opting to not talk about it at all or becoming overly aggressive as soon as the topic is brought up.. This also makes the kids uncomfortable. They sense the discomfort of their parents and find it easier to hide or lie about it.

  • As parents, we need to understand that the world is changing, as so is our culture. We need to be aware about what  the general trends are as far as the freedom and independence of our kids are concerned. We need to know the outing hours, frequency of peer outings, time on laptops and phones of the friends of our kids.We can neither live in the last century, nor just let go of all the rights of a parent.

It is always a good idea to be in regular contact with the parents’ of the peers of our teenager. We should know what is being allowed and accepted by others. This will help us with the typical, ” The rest of the parents are cool with it.”

  • We need to have our own home rules and regulations. It should be talked with the adolescent and make them understand the point and the reasons behind them. It is also a good idea to abide by these rules yourself before implementing it.  They will learn the best when they will see you rather than hear you.
  • It is a good idea to always give them the reason behind your decisions. Just because you have gone through a childhood, where rules were made without any questions and answers, that doesn’t mean you could do the same.

If you’ll make decisions without giving reasons, you’ll lose the trust of your child. They will start taking you as a dictator and stop sharing their thoughts and issues with you. They will think that their friends understand them in a better way than you.

Generally, I have seen that you stop giving reasons when you yourself are out of it. Reflect and see, whether the point you’re sticking to is even worth it?

  • There is also a major issue of ‘talking back’ of children: The generation we are talking about is very forthright. They will ask till they get an answer, which they like. We need to understand it and should be tactful in such situations.

If the ‘ talking back’ becomes disrespectful, you need to be clearly voice it to your teenager. There also is a need for the presence of proper consequences when there is crossing of limits, which needs to be decided beforehand.

You should always remember that whatever is the situation, you need to be emotionally available for your adolescent.

For a teenager, the times are really difficult. They are going through change within them as well as the outside world . They are highly confused and as a result very vulnerable. Be gentle with them.

Your child is seeking support, though it comes with an attitude. You can’t blame them, it is their age of confusions!

P.S. If you are a teenager reading this article, I have a message for you. Your parents love and care for you and that is why they always want to protect you from this big bad world. They are scared and don’t know how to reach you. Help them help you!

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Anger Management in early years

This is not one of my articles but some ways I have collated from different sources. I have found them really effective and would like to share it with all of you. Feel free to add tips which have worked with you or you’ve seen them working on others.

We all need to learn to express anger in a productive way instead of holding it in or lashing out at others. But how do you teach a child, especially one who is all emotion all the time, to react in a productive way when her feelings overwhelm her?

Consider these tips :

1. Teach that Anger is Okay, But Not Violence It’s one of the most unsettling emotions a parent can deal with, but many agree that a child’s anger is as natural as love or happiness. However, it’s tricky to try to teach the under-five set that while it is okay to feel mad, there are good and bad ways to deal with it.

2. Watch Your Own Temper Parents who scream and swear every time a driver cuts them off en route to school or yells at another mom in the school registration line can expect their child to handle their anger much the same way. “It is not easy, but if we are not able to do it ourselves, how can we expect a five-year-old to deal with his anger?”

3. Teach Them to Take Breaks or Walk Away A mom’s instinct is to protect her children. So it’s hard not to feel sorry if your child has been wronged. But moms/adults need to teach their children that they can’t get back at the offender with certain behaviors such as biting, hitting or swearing. What could we do [to make it right]?’ That gets a child thinking, rather than simply reacting.” A good strategy is to teach them to walk away if a child is lashing out in anger, and go tell mummy/teacher that he/she was angry and he/she needed help.

4. Give Them Words to Express Feelings Preschool-aged kids need to discover the right words to express their feelings, but the adults need to show them how.

5. Keep Outbursts in Perspective If you want to help your child learn to express himself and his anger more effectively, understand they he is trying to learn by testing limits

. 6. Help Them Feel Safe Anger is often justified, but your role is to help your child find a safe way and a safe place to express his feelings of frustration. “

Effective Parenting- Introduction

I just told a friend that I am thinking of writing about parenting & her concern of ” Is it going to be something new or research from the internet?”, made me realize that if I want my blog to be alive I need to write my experience and hands on solutions. So, here am I with my take on what an effective parenting needs to be like!

Parenting is a very heavy word which is becoming heavier with each passing day. If you’re a parent, I am sure you must have had your share of concerns, anxiety & stress. I personally believe that God has given most of us the ability to bring life to this earth but a few of us work on being a good parent. It is actually quite simple, as an individual we all go through different experiences and develop a personality, we carry this to our various roles of life. These traits helps us in being successful in some roles of life and in some they come as a hindrance.

Now, when we become a parent, these traits stay with us. Sometimes our role as a parent and our personality traits go in conflict. Here our flexibility as an individual plays a vital role. We need to mold ourselves according to the demand of the situation, time and need of the issue. Often being a success in one role makes it difficult for us to accept that there could be a problem in our role as a parent. I remember Mr. R telling me, ” How could I have a problem in dealing with my daughter, when my whole staff swears by my way of working?” . We need to accept that all of us have our days, some days we ace the art of parenting and in few cases it is fine to understand that we could have done better.

In our culture, there is a major shift happening. Women are coming out of the closet and rapidly proving themselves in the professional world. It is a great achievement but at the same time they are carrying a lot of ” Working Mothers Guilt“. Because they are not being physically available to their kids, they start fulfilling even the unfair demands of the kids.  Then we also have the opposite  where to make role model , they overdo the strictness. If we look into it where is all this behavior coming from? I think the major reason for most of our behavior is ” SOCIETAL PRESSURE“.

One of my friend shared with me that, ” My daughter is sharp but is too shy to prove herself.” I also know this girl and believe me, she is an intelligent one with a lot of talents but an INTROVERT. My question is who has decided that being  an introvert is not the right thing? I have seen the constant comparison of this girl with other kids and the pressure she has to go through to come out of her shell. My point it ” LEAVE HER ALONE,  SHE”LL BE FINE.”

As parents we need to keep on reminding ourselves that ” ALL CHILDREN ARE DIFFERENT”.

This topic is vast,  today we have started it and would continue with frequent posts on it. I would request you all to send me your feedback and questions so that it can be given a proper direction and be helpful.

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