FARJANA FATEMA (RUMI)
“Labiba is standing by the window just after a shower. Her hair has become much longer! Mom doesn’t let her grow her hair at all. ” You can’t take care of long hair ” or ” wet hair will catch cold “. Whenever the hair starts to grow longer, mom puts a tantrum until it’s short again! Labiba is now a 1st year student of the college. Although the college has been closed since March 15, regular classes are being conducted online. How far behind everything is! And how much Labiba misses classes, chitter chatters, hangouts, eating in restaurants with friends!
Suddenly seeing Humaira’s name on her mobile phone, her mood lifts up. Humaira is Labiba’s best friend. Although they moved away in January this year, they are talking on the phone regularly. So with a smile on her face, Labiba receives the call. But Humaira is crying on the other side! At first Labiba thought what happened to Humaira, is she COVID positive?
Humaira’s father was undergoing dialysis. But no one could have imagined that he would leave so soon. But she must be by the side of her friend in such a time. Labiba runs to her mother. She wants to go to Humaira’s house now. Labiba knows that Humaira has no other friend to comfort her at this time. But Labiba falls silent, her mother would not let her out of the house during this coronavirus situation. She feels guilty. In the greatest danger of her dearest friend, she could not stay by her side! She will never be able to forgive herself. Everyone in the world seems selfish! In this selfish world, she has nothing to do but cry alone in her room! ”
When teenagers are not given a basic idea of what is happening around them, they often think in their own way, which often has a negative effect on their personality development. There are some unspoken rules in families about how children should think and feel, such as “we don’t usually talk about emotions”, “boys don’t cry” or “pretend everything is fine”. However, these can lead to distance, isolation and misunderstanding without knowing it.
It is important to remember that teenagers go through a turbulent period both physically and mentally. Often parents do not understand what is meant by “active listening”. Neglecting the practice of being an active listener not only causes poor communication with your teenage child, it also undermines parental responsibility.
Your child’s needs are somewhat different from your own. They need someone who doesn’t think ” I know what’s best for you”. Rather what they need is an active listener.
An “active listener” is attentive, caring and willing to compromise.
He knows how to express sympathy even if he does not agree with the person’s point of view. He responds appropriately, both verbally and through attentive body language.
How to be by the side of teenagers when they are upset
Whenever there is a problem, our brain changes to panic mode. “Adrenaline” prepares the body to fight this threat or to get away from it as soon as possible. However, parenting in panic mode is usually not good.On the other hand, “Oxytocin” is a natural stress reliever. When the level of this hormone increases, it works in our brain to reduce anxiety and relax. A higher “oxytocin” level is associated with lower blood pressure and heart rate. It is also called “love hormone”. So touch your child in the emotional moment, hug them so that they understand that you love them, no matter how big the problem is, you are by their side.
Obviously your children need you to hear them out. This means keeping your mouth shut and your ears open. Listening attentively without commenting on anything. Let them know that you are listening to them.
Don’t forget to switch off the phone or turn off the TV. It’s a good idea not to think about how much time this conversation will take, keeping your mind off of planning other things or what’s for dinner or your office work, etc.
Asking clear questions:
If your child’s words are confusing or vague, you can say, “Tell me more about this” or “What else happened”. The questions should be emotional and curious without turning into rigorous interrogation. Instead of being negative, work on finding something positive, true, or helpful in your child’s words.
Often we try to teach something instead of listening. Give our own opinion or example of our own life. Instead of teaching, just listen for now.
Accepting all emotions:
Adolescents have different emotions than children and adults. The urge to say “calm down” or “stop crying” before you hear it, must be resisted. Instead of trying to stop the chaos, you need to work on keeping your child calm in the chaos. You can tell them, “I understand you’re feeling very bad” or “I understand you’re worried.”
If you feel stressed by your child’s words, you can take a deep breath so that you can focus again. Take your time. Try saying ” I really want to listen to you, but it would be better if I could have five minutes to gather my own thoughts”
It needs practice to perfect the art of active listening. Many parents reported that listening to their children actively reduced misunderstandings, increased their confidence in their parents, encouraged in sharing their thoughts & feelings more. Teenagers become more confident & self-conscious & more able in handling peer pressure. Because they will know that whatever happens they will always have listeners like their parents by their side.