Realigning youth through communicative parenting

Communicate to your child about the dangers of being exposed to violent images and monitor your child’s mental state
"Despite the girl’s good intentions, she didn’t understand that the restriction of the butterfly’s cocoon and the struggle the butterfly had to go through in order to escape, served an important purpose." [Representational Image]
"Despite the girl’s good intentions, she didn’t understand that the restriction of the butterfly’s cocoon and the struggle the butterfly had to go through in order to escape, served an important purpose." [Representational Image] File: Pxhere [Creative Commons]

One day, a girl came upon a cocoon, and she could tell that a butterfly was trying to hatch. She waited and watched the butterfly struggle for hours to release itself from the tiny hole. All of a sudden, the butterfly stopped moving–it seemed to be stuck.

The girl then decided to help get the butterfly out. She went home to get a pair of scissors to cut open the cocoon. The butterfly was then easily able to escape, however, its body was swollen and its wings were underdeveloped. 

The girl still thought she had done the butterfly a favor as she sat there waiting for its wings to grow in order to support its body. However, that wasn’t happening. The butterfly was unable to fly, and for the rest of its life, it could only move by crawling around with little wings and a large body.

Despite the girl’s good intentions, she didn’t understand that the restriction of the butterfly’s cocoon and the struggle the butterfly had to go through in order to escape, served an important purpose. As butterflies emerge from tight cocoons, it forces fluid from their body into their wings to prepare them to be able to fly.

Every parent should make their children realize that there is no short cut to success. The struggles that you face in life help you grow and get stronger. There is often a reason behind the requirement of doing hard work and being persistent.

When enduring difficult times, you will develop the necessary strength that you’ll need in the future. Without any struggle, you won’t grow–which means it’s very important to take on personal challenges for yourself rather than relying on other people to always help you.

In the auspicious path of this struggle a youth encounter deviants which he has to cross with deep rooted values.  Here in this article I list few of these deviants which can be neutralized through communicative parenting:

Struggle with Inter-Personal Relations

Adolescents today struggle more with their interpersonal relationships than any previous generation. The pervasiveness of digital communication has changed the way adolescents interact with their colleagues and parents.

Because of this, many adolescents lack essential interpersonal communication skills like knowing how to get socially connected. Much of this can be linked to the indiscriminate use of technology.

In fact, the average adolescent spends over eight hours each day using their electronic gadgets. With the result, their social media habits and media consumption are changing the way they communicate, learn, and exercise.

Depression

Adolescence is a stage of strife and storm; due to rush of hormones adolescent experiences frequent emotional swings and passes through a period of identity crisis. Depressive disorders in adolescents are treatable, but it is important to seek professional help.

If adolescent seems withdrawn, experiences a change in sleep patterns, or starts to perform badly in school, schedule an appointment with your child’s physician or contact a mental health professional.

Do not delay getting help for your child if you notice these symptoms. Remember a neglected spark burns the house; there are well documented case studies which have shown parental rejection and neglect had psychologically damaged the child and in extreme cases they had attempted suicide.

Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is bullying with the use of digital technology.  It can take place on face book, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones. It is repeated behavior, aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted.

Examples include: spreading lies about or posting humiliating photos or videos of someone on social media; sending spiteful, abusive or frightening messages, images or videos via messaging platform; impersonating someone and sending malicious messages to others on their behalf or through fake accounts.

Talk to your adolescent about bullying regularly. Discuss what they can do when they experience bullying and talk about options available. Being proactive is key to helping your child to deal effectively with a bully.

Drug and Alcohol Use

Talk to adolescents about the risks of underage drinking. Educate them about the dangers, including the fact that alcohol and drugs can take a serious toll on adolescent’s developing brain. When discussing drug use, do not forget to mention the dangers of prescription drugs also, as many adolescents do not recognize the dangers of taking a friend’s prescription, popping a few pills that are not prescribed to them, or even becoming addicted to their own prescriptions.

Social Media & On Screen Violence

No matter what measures you take, statistically, adolescents are still highly likely to be exposed to nasty people, unhealthy images, and sexual content online. Considering all the potential risks and disadvantages that come with internet, the best thing you can do as a parent is to educate your child and administer barriers to use.

Help your adolescent learn how to navigate social media in a healthy way. Talk about ways and means to stay secure online. And most importantly, stay in the know of what your child is doing online. Educate yourself about the latest social media apps, websites, and media pages that adolescents are using and make sure to filter.

Youngsters are going to witness some violent media at one time or another. And it is not just television, music, and movies that depict violence. Many of today’s popular video games depict gruesome scenes and disturbing aggressive acts.

Pay attention to your child’s media use. Do not  allow youth to watch R-rated movies or to play M-rated video games. It is not healthy for them to consume that material in excess and unsupervised.  Also communicate to your child about the dangers of being exposed to violent images and monitor your child’s mental state.

Academic Problems

It is no longer just “delinquent youth” who are dropping out of school. Some adolescents feel so much parental pressure to get into a good college that they are burning themselves out before they graduate from high school.

Stay involved in your child’s education and do not pressurize them to excel beyond their ability. Without being normative and setting unrealistic aspirational goals for your child be practical and compassionate; assist him in choosing the career as per his interest and potential.

Peer Pressure

Keep your child from falling victim to peer pressure, give them skills to make healthy choices, and to resist unhealthy activities catalyzed through peer pressure. Also, talk to adolescent about what to do if they make a mistake.

Sometimes, children may be afraid to seek help when they make poor choices. It is important that your child feels safe coming to you when they have a problem.

Demonstrate that you can listen without judging or overreacting and instead find healthy ways for them to make amends and move on. Listen to what your child has to say. Try not to be judgmental, but make your expectations and opinions clear.

Dr Showkat Rashid Wani, Senior Coordinator, Directorate of Distance Education , University of Kashmir

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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