Why is it that it takes a lot of hard work and tremendous effort to understand what is going on in the minds of our children? Why is it that our children think their feelings are not understood and their words, when spoken, (occasionally, as there is so much of silence all the time) misunderstood?
Why is it that we keep judging our child’s personality and outlook when they share something with us (again, which is a rare episode)? Have you thought about these things?
I am pretty sure many of you, too, must be thinking the same, silently in your heart, though. Today, the young generation is so engrossed in their self and the technology around them that they hardly look up to a human figure to share their thought process, or about the jolt of emotions due to varied experiences, and the melancholy that hovers due to this lockdown during Pandemic.
Having interacted with many teenagers, thanks to my profession, the most difficult part of this global lockdown, according to them, was being at home in the company of their parents every minute.
While some of them were glad and working on their relationships with their parents, trying to bridge the gap, for many, the gap was just widening and widening as they felt the glare of the surveillance camera all the time.
Listening to their perspective and trying to understand, all that I could figure out was the ardent need for trust and affection on both ends.
As parents of teenagers, we often tend to take their behaviour or expression for granted, terming them as the “Teenage Effect” or consciously putting them under the carpet of hormonal changes.
The expectation of the other party is to hold a hand, to be more understanding, or be more accommodating and less monitoring … and stop spying. Yes, that’s what they want. At the same time, we parents think the child has become revolting, ill-behaved and what not, in the process disbelieving them, demeaning their personality and accusing their friends of precipitating what is happening, forgetting that friends are the lifeline at this age.
Having witnessed the past and living in the present, my existence marks the union of minds as a child and as a mother – the pain suffered as a child and the fear of hurting my child, as a mother now.
We understand the significance of everything around us only when there is an exchange of roles or promotion. Yes, that process widens our perspective, matures our ability to think and enhances our skills of rationalization or understanding of the events. This transformation has always been so fascinating, engulfing me into the bubble of forbearing which just grows larger and larger with every breath that I take.
You must be wondering at the deviation from the questions raised to an elaboration of personal experience. So here I reveal that over a period of time, with adding to my experience as a daughter, being expected of umpteen things, and as a mother having infinite expectations from my son,
who will soon be a teen , there is one truth that has unfolded before me and that is the existence of a bridge.
Yes, once the concept, mechanism and importance of this bridge, which you may also term as a ‘common factor’, is acknowledged, trust me, life will be easy for you and much easier for your child, who despite all the efforts made by you, is drifting away, the presence merely felt in a few giggles, glares, nods or bangs to express their joy or annoyance.
So all you need is to design your bridge, the bridge to Terabithia and hold the hand of your child giving the assurance that you are there for protection and support when there is help needed while the beautiful or the gross magical world of existence is being explored.
All they need is your assurance that it’s okay to go in a shell when thoughts are overpowering and emotions gripping, that you are always available for any kind of emotional security they need at any point in their life. That you respect their privacy and their own space and at the same time trust they are going to uphold your faith and trust in them with dignity. It is all about a bilateral flow of words, emotions and expressions which needs to be demonstrated more often for assurance and not taken as “to be understood”.
It’s time to sit with your child, speak your heart and listen to his mind, rebuild the trust and rekindle the lost faith. It’s easy to win the tender mind, just give them your love, affection and attention and at the same time respect their space and privacy. It’s time to treat them like mature individuals and let them take onus for their deeds.
It’s time for you to design your Bridge to Terabithia! Let’s help one another in understanding the design of our bridge!
(The author is working in the Faculty of English, DPS Modern Indian School, Doha)