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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Guiding the 'Adolescent' journey ...

The water runs rough and deep here...

Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood.

Is puberty inevitable a period of storm and stress? NO.

It's not biologically determined. There are social and cultural forces which determine how well children adjust to this phase and how well parent-child relationship change. The onus doesn't lie on the child alone. Parenting has to grow out of 'baby-toddler-kiddo' mode to cater to the adolescent who is experiencing significant change biologically and psychologically.

Do strong roots ensure your child will not SINK?


COMMUNICATING AND COMMUNICATING

ALL THAT WE CAN DO. ALL THAT CAN possibly make A DIFFERENCE.

·       ENGAGE IN OPEN AND TWO-SIDED CONVERSATION- You have heard this many a times, but the fact remains that this is still the key. And this is still elusive in parent's behavior due to cultural forces and societal norms whereby different social group across the world talk around differently about sexuality. Having a restrictive or an open sexual attitude is a matter of the group you belong to. An open conversation will only help in making the teenager know that parents are available, willing and trustworthy resource and will answer the questions fully and accurately. The idea is - To be informed by parents accurately rather than misinformed by friends and peers who are in the same state of 'turbulence and confusion' and who do not have access to the accurate information. Irresponsible sexual behaviors leading to  STD including AIDS, adolescent pregnancy and parenthood are sensitive and important issues that need discussion with your teenager. He needs to have a thorough understanding of what constitutes an irresponsible sexual behavior, and it's consequences. 

·  A BREAST IS A BREAST, AND A PENIS IS A PENIS- This may come across as outrageous, especially to a group where restrictive sexual attitudes persist. Parents tend to hide the body parts under nicer and sweeter names to avoid calling them what they are.But body part is just a body part and sex is not a secretive topic. A leg is a leg, and a penis is a penis. I choose to let my son know about private words and penis, vagina, breast fall under this category. But I refrain from categorizing these body parts into a secretive domain. Once it becomes secretive, the conversation get impeded because of it being secretive and many a time children get an understanding that it's shameful too. That's where all the confusion starts.

·  USE OF EFFECTIVE DISCUSSION TECHNIQUE WHERE LISTENING IS THE KEY- The teenager has to be encouraged to ask questions or offer opinions about sex related issues. As parents, we can choose to ask open-ended questions rather 'yes/no' questions and the most important part is to offer a supportive response. A dominating, authoritative and lecturing kind of response will only make the teenager withdraw and look outside for information which may be very inaccurate and will land him up in trouble.

·  BEING NON-JUDGEMENTAL -  Your teenager is going through real feelings and emotions. Shutting him out will not shut his hormones or the associated emotions. Judging him by his feeling is an inappropriate thing to do. It happens to all of us. If we differ with our teenager, we need to convey our perspective in a rationale and a non-threatening way emphasizing that although we disagree, we are not attacking him for his feelings and judging his character. Dictating our expectation is a risky rope to walk on. It makes the teenager feel alienated because he thinks his parents don't understand.

·   KEEP THE COMMUNICATION FLOWING- It doesn't stop after the ‘BIG SEX TALK’ during the adolescence period. Teenagers gather all kinds of information from their friends and peers and the World Wide Web(Internet) many of which might be right in theory but not in practice at the age they are. It's only the parents who can ensure that the information that the teenager acquires is a right one and how to process the information with the age at which the teenager is. Keeping the channels of communication open is a must, therefore.

DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO OPERATE OUT OF FEAR OR WISDOM?


Fear issues can be manipulated by them. Big deal. All that they need to do is lie and hide. But that is not what you want.

You should be the first person your child comes to when he is in confusion either over his body change or feeling change. If you shut him up then, he won't trust you. He will lie to you, hide things from you because he knows that such topics bring reprimand and lectures. What reprimand and lecture does? It tells the child 'I was a saint and you are sexual'. 


To read more articles related to this click on the following links

Image courtesy-Pixabay


1 comment:

  1. This is quite an insightful post Namrata. I like the pointer of speaking directly to the child with words meaning exactly what we say. I would really follow some of these tips

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