Sun. Dec 5th, 2021


MADRID

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Alejandro Rodrigo (Madrid, 1981) has a degree in Musical Teaching and an expert in Analysis and Criminal Investigation. Husband and father of a daughter, for more than fifteen years he has been dedicated to social and educational intervention with minors at risk of social exclusion, attending to minors and young people subject to judicial measures. For more than ten years, he has been a probation technician in Madrid, specializing exclusively in cases of ascending intrafamily abuse. With the passage of time and with the impulse to learn, grow and serve families from different fields and perspectives, he decided to found Gabinete Concordia, a consultancy for educational centers that is also dedicated to family guidance and care. Now he has just presented his first book: “How to prevent conflicts with adolescents”.

“Almost without realizing it, our son has become a stranger, with whom there is no way to connect.” How did we get to this point and what are the keys to resuming good communication with our teenage children?

“Almost without realizing it, our son has become a stranger, with whom there is no way to connect.” How did we get to this point and what are the keys to resuming good communication with our teenage children?

During his childhood we spent a lot of time playing with our children. However, as adolescence approaches, we are faced with a drastic change, they no longer want us to enter their room. It is a normal circumstance, typical of this stage of development, since the adolescent is in a moment of self-affirmation. He wants and must face the great challenge of being an adult with full autonomy. And, from there, you understand the need to distance yourself from your parents. The key to maintaining good communication with our children is understanding this concept. However, what the adolescent really wants is that we do not abandon him, even if he does not express it. He hopes that we continue to spend time with him.

One of the consequences of this pandemic is that the time in which families share space has multiplied. Do you think that it is a risk for the good coexistence between parents and children?

On the contrary, one of the few positive circumstances of this serious global crisis is being able to spend more time with our families. Cases that were at an extreme level of severity have become polarized and have increased the level of tension, but it is a low casuistry. In times of confinement or the obligation to stay at home, after the first days of confusion, many families have improved their relationship by spending so much time together.

Adolescence is often referred to as a negative or even violent time. Do you think this thought is correct or derives from a misunderstanding towards adolescents?

A teenager is not violent simply because he is a teenager. Adolescence is a stage characterized by extremes. It is normal that, during this stage, the emotions are very misaligned and you are continually seeking balance. The adolescent, throughout the day, goes through a myriad of very contradictory moods. Seen from a distance and from the eyes of the adult it might seem incomprehensible, but they are experimenting and knowing themselves. In this experiment and learning there is room for a lot of trial and error, so, at times, it can be difficult to live with him. Adolescents are unpredictable to adults, we do not know what their reactions are going to be and from that ignorance is where fear or rejection is born.

Talk about the importance of emotional education. How can we help our children to understand their emotions and how this helps the happiness of our home?

The book begins by analyzing what are the basic emotions and what is emotional intelligence, because it is the basis of the entire path that I propose to travel. Being able to identify what emotion we are experiencing is the starting point for good personal development. Much of the misadjusted behaviors of adolescents and adults originate from not understanding what emotion they were feeling. This produces a sharp feeling of frustration. A low level of tolerance for frustration usually leads to impulsiveness and from there to harmful behaviors. Being able ourselves to enjoy a minimum level of emotional intelligence is the first step. Our children learn what we are and what we project. When we want to find a teenager with emotional abilities, we must first look for an emotionally stable adult referent.

A tool that he names as important is the rules but, precisely, it is the setting of rules that makes our children rebel against them, causing frustration in the parents. How should we act on these limitations?

In the book I develop the concept of explicit and implicit norms, as well as that of limits. The rules must exist in every family that wants to enjoy good harmony, but each family is a universe unto itself. When a child is systematically breaking the rules, what they are doing is sending us an encrypted message of what is really happening to them. The ability we have as parents to listen, translate and decrypt that message will be the key to truly understand our child’s message. Usually, it is always a cry for help in which you raise an unmet need. Therein lies the key, translating the message.

Comment that the secret is that parents become references for their children, how can we achieve it? Is it time to start analyzing ourselves as parents and also change our behavior in front of our children?

The exercise of self-analysis is fundamental in the work of a father, mother or adult reference for all children, adolescents and young people, understanding our strengths and our weaknesses. Children do not learn what their parents say, but rather what they are or what they project. Changing or modifying those behaviors that have room for improvement is an invaluable message for children, because we will be teaching them to rectify and improve. On the other hand, being aware of our strengths is a very high strategic value, because that way we will know in which aspects we are a benchmark. At all times, even if adolescents seem to reject their parents, what they really want is to have an adult to emulate. They, without their parents hearing them, want to feel proud of being their children.

As a parent, teacher and person with experience in social and educational intervention with minors at risk of social exclusion. What final advice would you give adults when interacting with teens?

I would love to be able to convey a very clear message, a secret. Teenagers love being talked to and given responsibilities like an adult and when they make mistakes, they are understood for the children they are. With this attitude they soon stop behaving like children. An adult who is by his side and can understand this strategy will be a true reference for that adolescent.

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