Managing emotional storms in your child part 3

 Why  teenagers are like spring bulbs

Rose and Michele  have been thinking about how bulbs really do all the growing when you are not looking and you have to endure the long hard winter with frozen ground floods horrible winds just like we have been having here this year! Then when you have forgotten how horrible it all was out comes the sweetest flower.  So  all the work you put in to make the soil fertile can lead to the bulb being healthy and ready to shoot.

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At Brighton Therapy Service this reminds us that teenagers need this extra time to grow and mature inside. They literally need to go dormant, it is well known that adolescents sleep patterns change and they need to sleep longer in the day. Teenagers really need to have the time to come to you with their ideas and with their troubles, but if you nag they will push you away.

How can you protect them from harm, like the squirrel looking for a late winter snack and trying to dig up your bulbs as they do in my garden?  And there are certainly many worries out there for this age group: sex, drugs,   big pressures with academic work and with friendships, body image, so much to do, so many threats.  Adolescents are more prone to self-harming, perhaps eating or sleeping problems, depression or anxiety. Some of these worries will need specialist help.  Michele and Rose at Brighton Therapy Service are available to help through discussion and perhaps an assessment to see if the young person does need counselling help.

Yet often we find that just when parents are most fed up with the horrible storms, maybe being flooded with too much stress and arguing, or frozen out when the child turns away and will not open up- it helps to think “perhaps I have done what is needed already?” Young people need time and more time and then the shoots will form and suddenly it will be spring.   Just at this moment digging and trying to force growth or piling on more nutrients like giving the exhausted child the same instructions over and over again like pouring on nutrients when it is still winter is just not going to work.  Think to yourself I have done it – accept the coldness and look after yourself for the growth will come in its own good time. Maybe go inside and put your feet up by the fire and know the bulb is there ready and soon it will bud.  The hard work you put in nourishing and helping last year now bears the blossom.  Just being there calmly ready to protect and celebrate the young buds when they start is the best approach. In fact the teenager needs to push their parents away like pushing out through the hard soil at the end of the winter. Suddenly the shoots of growth are there, your young person really just needed the time to grow inside before you can see the development flower.

So at the end of a long hard winter, maybe the best thing a parent can do is concentrate on being the best role model and this like the sun in early spring- this is what what will warm things up and lead to healthy growth.   But it only seems to happen when you might not be looking!