A child who used to be as gentle and cute as a furry dog will grow up to be as tall as his parents in a few years, and his heart is full of secrets that he does not want to share. Every parent knows that there will be this day, but when it really comes, they are still caught off guard. Seeing a burly young man playing with his mobile phone in his bedroom all day long, without communicating, and losing his temper when he talks about studying, it is hard for parents not to have such doubts: “Will there be any problems with him?” “Does the child have a mobile phone? Addiction/depression/mania? Can it be cured?”
However, the task of the counselor is not to help them determine what disease they have. What we are more willing to discuss is: If everyone has the final say, what is the result that everyone wants? People who ask for help often emphasize the “problem” at home: what is the name, what are the characteristics, and even the reasons, such as the addiction mechanism in the design of mobile games. But in the opinion of psychologists, the most important thing is always how they achieve what they want.
Even if the child has a problem, what should the parent think is “normal”?
Many parents will say: “Like in the past.”
The implication is, go back in time. A year ago, no, even two months ago, it was fine, no problems. I have met many families like this. When I mention the past, they all have a nostalgic look of “how good it was then”: the whole family performed their duties, when to go to school, when to go to extracurricular classes, how to ensure logistics, and how to ensure that they are all in order… How stable! It’s a pity that the situation has changed suddenly. Children are obsessed with games, their grades plummet, they are strange and hostile to their parents, do not do homework or go to class… Obviously, the problem lies with the child! If the counselor has any magic to solve this problem, the whole family can live as in the past.
However, the first task of the counselor is to tell them that this is impossible.
“Want to live as stable as in the past?” I told them, “Everyone must change.”
“Why?” They didn’t understand.
Because the child has grown up. I asked the child: “Do you want to go straight back in time? Your parents think that’s the best, when you were a child. At that time, what mom wanted you to do was just a command.”
The child rolled his eyes and ignored me.
“Hey, the teacher asks you something!” Mom pushed him.
Now the child is indifferent to what the mother says. The obedience and obedience that parents were used to no longer exist. This is the essence of the “problem”: the child has changed, and what he liked before is now disliked. The effect that could be achieved with a single word in the past has now become a counter-effect. Time is a one-way line, change is change, it will not stop, let alone go backwards. Only when it is regarded as an unchangeable fact, the family will accept: the only way is to follow the change.
When one person changes, it often means that the whole family has to change. To maintain balance at the new stage, new skills are needed. Children want to play as they want when they are young, and they also want to play as they want when they grow up. The difference is that when I was young, my mother asked, “Did you write your homework?” The child picked up the pen obediently. Revolt? nonexistent. The mother was a little stricter, and the child took it. When he (she) grows up, he (she) has the confidence to be dissatisfied, that’s it. Rather than treating this as a problem, it’s better to say that there is a problem with the parents’ ability to solve the problem. They must explore a more effective communication: adult-to-adult communication.
Of course, parents will frown: Why?
In their impression, communication with children does not need to be like this. I didn’t need it before, why should I be so troublesome now? This way of thinking secretly transfers the responsibility: The problem is not with me, and I shouldn’t be responsible for it. Can’t the child find a way to overcome it? Let’s go back to the past together.
As a psychologist, you must explicitly deny this idea. The prerequisite for the change is to resolutely bring your eyes to reality, whether you are willing or not, the change has already come. Let’s discuss after eliminating unrealistic fantasies: What skills are needed before this new stage?
If the goal is to communicate calmly as before, everyone has to make a choice based on this premise. Parents need to master better discipline wisdom: how to cleverly set boundaries? What must be persisted? Which children can have the final say? How to deal with the disagreement? In addition to giving orders, what other management and negotiation skills are there? And if the child grows up day by day, what if the life he or she ultimately chooses is inconsistent with the direction set by the parents? Also be prepared to accept this gap.
When children grow up, parents must follow suit.
There must be difficulties. Mom would say: “It’s too difficult, I can’t do it.” This is also normal. Mom can’t do it alone, so what changes do Dad need to make? Dad was reluctant at first. He was used to going out early and returning home every day, leaving the family affairs to his wife: “Isn’t it always like this before? I’m responsible for making money and you are responsible for the housekeeping. Now you continue to think of ways to manage the house well. Don’t pull me in.” I’m afraid this won’t work either. The changes in the wife will also have an impact on the whole family. She will express more and more needs, confusion, and dissatisfaction. Sooner or later, the husband will face this.
The husband has to think: In order to discipline an adolescent child, and to maintain a stable relationship between husband and wife in the new period, what adjustments should he make: how will husband and wife divide their work and how to cooperate? What aspects of the child need dad support? What kind of help does the wife need from her husband? The familiar pace of life in the past will only be gone forever.
It is not easy to initiate changes in the whole family, but it is at least feasible compared to the simple sentence “back to the past.” Because everyone has accepted the change and has the determination to change with the change. There are various difficulties in changing, but I always feel that the most difficult thing is determination.
If someone can’t figure this out, he will be very wronged: “I didn’t do anything wrong, why are new problems coming?” It is indeed unfair, but the world is renovating: children are more and more insistent on their own ideas ; Parents need more care when they are old; the trust of husbands and wives is declining over time; the economic situation is ups and downs; the company’s competition is more intense, young people are full of enthusiasm, and the knowledge of middle-aged people is becoming obsolete.
All of these can be summed up in one sentence-because time passes, the growth of everything will never stop.
This is not a “problem”. Don’t think of it as a problem that should or can be solved. This is just a fact: everyone is growing. Accepting it from the bottom of your heart will give you the determination to change. This makes no sense, and no one has done anything wrong, but the life you are familiar with is destined to drift away and change is destined to happen.