My blog has moved!
You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds. If not, please visit:

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Ask your counsellor - Q&A column

[The following column answered by me appeared in the Deccan Herald Education page on May 28, 2015]

Dear Madam

Ever since I started high school my dad and I have had problems. As the years went by I realized what I was doing wrong and changed with the help of a therapist. But it seems that no matter what I do, I can never gain his approval. He wants me to be clean but I can never do it to his standard. He wants me to have good grades but my one B upsets him. He thinks I’m not a normal teenager because I don’t want to spend every second of my free time cleaning rather than watching TV or playing video game part of the time and cleaning the rest. If I don’t keep my room clean for one day he turns off the wi-fi and the cable. I have learned to bite my tongue in most situations but I’m at my wit’s end, I don’t know how to deal with his controlling behavior any longer without snapping, and I can’t tell him how I feel (ever) because he thinks I’m trying to be manipulative. Please, I need advice, any advice is better than none.
(name withheld)

Dear adolescent

A big part of adolescence involves individuating from your parents, and forming your own identity – figuring out who you are, what you like, what you dislike, who your friends are, what you want to do, and not do. In this process you will go through the process of liking some of the traits and beliefs of your parents, and disliking some of them. This is a healthy process and it is good that you are able to engage with it. Unfortunately, parents sometimes are not able to make this transition along with the child, and don’t allow the relationship to evolve from one that is autocratic to one that is more democratic It may be helpful for you to go for some family counselling which will help you understand your parents, and help them understand you. They are, after all, doing what they believe is in your best interest; they just don’t know how to do it effectively. You could all do with some help and you could try suggesting it to them. Your parents will have their own set of issues which will surface during the time of family therapy.

In the meantime, whenever you have a disagreement and want to say something, try telling him how that makes you feel, instead of focusing on what your father said or did. For example, if he tells you to clean up your room when you just did it, don’t shout back, or question him on why he keeps telling you to do it. Just say “when you keep asking you to clean the room, I feel hurt/ sad / frustrated/ angry/ put down/ not good enough” or whatever it is that you feel. What this approach does is, it takes the focus away from what he is doing (which naturally will make him, or anyone in his position, defensive) and brings the focus to how you are feeling (and I am quite sure his aim is not to make you feel the way you do, just that he does not realize it). Hope this helps.

Dear Madam,

There is a girl I like in one of my classes at school. It started off as an observation, but then I became interested, so I decided to offer her the seat next to me in class, and she accepted. After our class work was finished we talked a bit but that was only for two days. I learned that we share interests in music and literature etc. Well after that we didn’t talk but we smiled at each other and said “hi” and “bye,” and then winter break happened. When we came back I continued the same greetings. I want to be more than her friend, but I don't know how. That is why I ask you for assistance before the school year is over. By the way some traits of hers: She’s quiet and doesn’t have a lot of friends. I’ve only seen one or two. She’s a good student, also a bit slow in responding. She also doesn't look people in the eyes, talks very quietly. She’s lazy — meaning that she told me she just goes home and watches TV. Basically I’m asking you should I make a move — asking her for her number or asking her out for a walk to the park? Some of my characteristics are like hers. 
P M 

Dear PM
I am not in a position to tell you whether you should make the first move or not. If your heart tells you to, do it. What are your fears around it? Learn to take a risk. But that is what it is – a risk. Which means there is a 50 per cent chance that she may accept your first move, or a 50 per cent chance she may reject it. You will need to be able to interpret the fact that she does not accept your first move appropriately (in case she does not accept it). Which means that you must not see it as a rejection of you, but just that she was not ready for something more at this time. It also does not mean that because you like her, she has to like you. Nor does it mean that if you like her at this point in your life, your feelings are going to stay constant forever and that she is the one for you. A relationship involves two people, and if you are willing to take the next step with an open, exploratory stance, then go ahead and take the risk. Remember, this is not a final destination or goal, nor is she a trophy to be won. She is another human being with her own sets of choices, likes and dislikes, and she has every right to express them.

No comments:

Post a Comment