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Saturday, 14 January 2017

Meaningful Parenting- Not losing the focus on EDUCATION amidst matters of heart.


Michelle Obama once said while addressing a group of young girls-"There is no boy, at this age, cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting an education," Obama added. “If I had worried about who liked me and who thought I was cute when I was your age, I wouldn’t be married to the President of the United States."

To me, she made a very valid point which is applicable to both adolescent boys and girls.We(parents) call it a distraction, may be the biggest and they(our adolescents) call it LOVE...the truest.



We dealt with sexuality and our child some time back( read http://www.fourcloverlife.com/2017/01/meaningful-parenting-guiding-adolescent.html) and understood the havoc the hormones play at the time of puberty and continues to even at a later stageA lot of life then and onwards has to do with LOVE, and this comes at the most unwanted time... a time when these adolescents are right in the middle of their EDUCATION. Right in the midst of forming a goal and working towards it. Right in the midst of shaping life. 

We know it strikes without knowledge. It pops up at the most inopportune time. There is nothing wrong with the feeling. It's the timing which is concerning. Holding academics in one hand and Cupid in another is a tough one, and many times Cupid takes the better of us. What suffers is education and family. The feelings look flimsy to us but not to them.
A relationship is not just about two people liking each other. It goes much deeper and farther. Some emotions are better understood and LIVED when one is at a particular stage of life, and the stage of adolescence is very fragile. It's not in their capacity biologically or emotionally to comprehend such relationship and meet its demands. The reality is far away from ideal. Can we stop it from happening to our children? NO Can we stop our child from it? NO, We can only guide. And how do we do that?


By 

Being open, transparent and honest with the child- Sex related education or matters of hearts, we all have been there and know what it feels like. If we discuss it with our child, he feels more connected with us knowing that 'it happened with my parent's too.' We want our child to share with us but does sharing happen one sided? NO. We develop trust by sharing our stories and accepting his and not brushing it away as a flimsy feeling. Doing so will only enrage him and cast a shadow of a doubt whether his 'parents really understand?'

Helping the child develop a purposeful passion which can act as a major distraction for him- It is always a good idea for the child to develop a love for himself. Be it in the field of sports or any other creative pursuit, passion (not academic really) helps channelize mind and energy to something that truly interests the child in a meaningful way. Ensuring that the child understands the importance of EDUCATION in his life and the stage at which he is- It's not about grades or GPA's but about EDUCATION which is a necessity come what may. Emphasizing the relation of this age and stage with education and career goals is a responsibility which parents should proactively undertake.

Helping him see a goal for himself-The parents, and the child together chart out a goal of life- What does he want to do? What is the aim that he is working for? What interests him and what opportunities are available to him to capitalize on? Help him build a SMART goal for himself-S - specific, significant, stretching, M - measurable, meaningful, motivational, A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented, R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented, T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable. Not to forget that a goal will keep him motivated to invest himself and his energies in the right direction.

Providing a warm, loving environment- This ensures safe and secure feelings for the child at whichever stage he is and contributes towards trust building between the child and the parent. 

Through these, you provide a safety net for your child...

Helping the child recognize these feelings, understand them and see it's consequences- Much as you would want, the adolescent  of yours cannot shut himself from these feelings. What you can do is to reiterate the importance of these feelings coming at a more appropriate stage. You can let him know that it's okay to have these feelings, but the age is in complete conflict with the feeling and that these feelings can create unwanted emotions which have serious consequences. You can help the child 'see through.'


Helping him decode the peer pressure- It's the strongest at this age, and our adolescents are extremely vulnerable to peer influence because they want to be liked, to fit in, or because they worry that other friends might make fun of them if they don't go along with the group. Others go along because they are curious to try something new that others are doing. The idea that "everyone's doing it" can influence some adolescents to leave their better judgment or their common sense, behind. And therein lies the danger. You as a parent can make your child decode these influences and put a perspective to what these pressures can lead us to. Getting into sexual intimacy because others are doing it too is not a wise idea. You can make him aware of the lurking danger so that he is better prepared.


... and even then, there are chances that love relationships manage to grow despite the safety net? They may happen for a short period in a very fleeting way and erode off, or they may go deep down to stir the heart in many ways. For some adolescents, these feelings come and go, and for some, they come and stay. What do you do then? What about heartbreaks which are most often the result of relationships at this stage? How do you handle that? You know heartbreaks are extremely painful. It has the capacity to destroy your child and leave him scarred. Is there any remedy? YES and NO.
We will explore this in the upcoming article-  Son, I am sorry your relationship turned out this way, but...


“Adolescence is like having only enough light to see the step directly in front of you.”
Sarah Addison Allen


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


DISCLAIMER- This article uses the gender of a boy to convey a message which is applicable to both the adolescent boy and the girl. The use of 'himself' has been done because I have a boy child, but the message is for both genders.


Thank you for dropping by. Do not forget to like on FB and share. Drop in your feedback if any.For more such articles on Meaningful Parenting, Mindful Eating, Well-being and Motivation Cuppa,  please visit Four Clover Life at  http://www.fourcloverlife.com/.  


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