Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 61, Tuesday September 6, 2005





Our growing young ones

These days whenever we try to take a clear look at our growing off springs, we become a little helpless and even a little desperate at times. This could be for essentially two reasons- it could be for your child not meeting up to your expectations or it could be for society not matching the ideals you had wished it to epitomize. Sometimes it is both of the above. We are living in such a world today where deciphering adolescent psychology has become an universal inscrutability, and one that every parent is eager to unravel.

As human psychology can never be compared to a math or physics equation, unfortunately, there is no clear-cut solution to this problem. Children are such convoluted studies that it is hard to think that we ourselves were once at the same stage, and it is harder to think that we have forgotten what used to make us tick. Adolescent behavior differs from house to house and from country to country- but there a few rules of deviation which are maintained by all.

This is the rule to always revolt- against their parents, their teachers, society and themselves, as soon as they reach a certain age exceeding childhood. This is not necessarily an alarming act , it is taken to assert , mainly to themselves, their true identity. We raise our kids from their youths to their adolescence instilling in them certain basic principles and morals so that they can make the right decisions when the time comes. From their childhood we refrain them from the bad and direct them towards the good, we ingrain in them certain standards to measure bad and good. When these children reach puberty, they don't want to be restrained any longer, they want to become like adults and to make judgments for themselves.

This is the beginning of all the problems-they start to demand space of their own, they talk back, they do anything to irk their elders. Though this is mainly due to the hormones and changes going on in their bodies, there is a large psychological change occurring right at the same time. They are actually going through a process of confusion themselves. This is a dilemma with no definite solutions but there are means of reducing the anxieties parents go through at this time.

Kids from stable families are rarely seen to deviate at this age, as they are seen to receive abundant emotional security. They know that their parents love them and will always support them in any case. This sense of belonging and feeling of being needed helps to boost them emotionally. This in turn helps to develop in them a strong sense of confidence before they reach their teens. Youths with so much authority over themselves are least likely to fall under the manipulation of peer pressure or media pressure or pressure of society altogether. This confidence and high esteem has to be developed from a very early age.

The majority of our kids come from pretty much balanced families, but which families are totally trouble free, after all we are just human beings. Some of the greatest mistakes we make are by acting out of emotions. We erupt very rapidly in situations that don't suite us in the forms of rage, laughter, tears and tensions. All these emotions should be connected to our mental faculties. We should not portray feelings right away, especially our wrath, which is the worst emotion on the list. We should listen and try to be patient. Kids always imitate us, though usually unconsciously. If we can think before reacting, they will also try.

If they learn to think with their brains rather than hearts, they can be far more rational, and make much more clear-headed, precise decisions in the future. The better examples we set for our young, the better humans they will become, though we need not frustrate them by acting perfect.

Parents must always communicate with their children. They help their children with homework when they are kids but it is hard to keep track once they are teenagers. You can still talk to them about their currents teachers, their peers, their study loads, their friends and their personal attitudes on life. We should never be judgmental even if they say anything wrong. Children hate being reprimanded at this age but they will utilise your friendship. Sometimes the incidences they relate to you will be objectionable but you can advise them into thinking straight. You can even share incidences of your own adolescence which you are not proud of, so as to show that you had also made mistakes but you learned from them. This will enhance their trust in you and re-enforce the relationship between you. This way you will know beforehand what paths your child is taking and counsel him to detract before he/she makes a serious mistake on his own. In the long run parents should never think twice before putting their foot down when required when the situation is too deep, even if it means losing their trust.

Give them time to make decisions for themselves, but not so much as to cause regret. Each family should have a special time each day to spend with each other, no matter how old they become or how busy they are. This could be a common meal at the dinner table, a family chat before going asleep or a board or card game played together. Parents should always keep contact with the happenings in their child's life. Let them know you worry because you love them. You should meet their friends and invite them more often at your house instead of allowing them to hang out somewhere else, unsafe. Parents should meet the parents of their child's friends; see what type of backgrounds they are from, this can be as a vital factor as this will also have a huge influence on your child.

In families with working parents, it is even more difficult to manage to keep such close surveillance on their teenagers, but they should not waste a moment of their time the moment they are home. Kids should know their parents are trying and they don't love them any less than stay-at home mothers.

The television, the internet, and cell phones are also becoming viruses in our houses. It gives our children access to many new types of data that we do not even know about, many times those that are improper. The valuable information is indispensable but not at the stake of the healthy thinking of our children. We should allow them limited times with the cable channels, internets and phones, and parents should monitor them as long as possible. Parents should keep their children busy in their whole adolescence period with healthy activities, not only with studies and coaching, but extra-curricular activities. They should be engaged in sports, the gym, cultural activities, social welfare, etc. so that they hardly have any time left over to think of ways to digress. In the long run, they will feel more self fulfilled and will retaliate less, making us the happy parents.

Youths should also never carry excess money with them; you should go with them in case they want to purchase anything. As students, having excess money might lead them to buy unnecessary and sometimes even harmful things. They should be taught value of money and the art of using money wisely from a very early age, or they can easily be swayed by peer pressure. Explain to them the value of money and how hard you work for it. This will ultimately make them better persons. Never allow your children to emotionally blackmail you, which they are very competent in doing, as they know all your weaknesses towards them. They should know you are only doing this for their own good.

Your child will be pressurised from everywhere in society to go into the wrong path. You will be the only one to guide him. Cable channels, storybooks, the internet are taking them to unthinkable frontiers, some valuable and some that can even destroy them. They are going to school everyday meeting a wide arrangement of people from so many different backgrounds. It will be very easy for your child to be bowled over by them. Give your children a break, think what you would have done at their stage. It is experience that made you the wiser. Talk to them, don't get so easily upset. You have to also keep in mind that there will always be the factor of generation gap always creating misunderstandings between you, that is why try to sometimes understand their side of the story. Just because they are at a rebellious age doesn't always mean they are wrong. We also have a lot to learn from them.

Once again, society is made up of so many distractions each one more appealing than the other. Your child will be growing amongst all this disorder, disorder of the hostile and the extraordinary, all very scintillating and unsuspecting to the immature curious minds. It will be very easy for your child to drop if he is not strong enough and you not always there to guide him. Your child should not be frightened of you, but he should be fearful for his own inner conscience that would rebuke him the rest of his life if he took the wrong step. It is up to you to build that inner voice and after that the rest is easy.

By Chadni Islam

Reader's chit

My TRUE Love

It started to snow, and slowly cover the grounds. I looked through my window to the open space. I knew I was in love with him. Everything about him amazed me. I was head over heels for him. He was kind, had a voice that blew me away, a smile that touched my heart instantly. He was the one. At least I thought he was the one.

I called him in that snowy night. I had to tell him, I wanted to tell him. He gave me false hope and never called. I cried and thought my life was over. It was innocent and long ago.

I still remember him. He was my first love, but not my last. I fell in love again and this time he said yes. I am his first love, his whole world, and his soul mate. He is my husband and my eternal love.

By Iffat Zia


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