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Emotional roller coaster

During the teenage years a young person’s home may resemble a busy railway terminus with people coming and going all the time. Some come only once while others become part of the furniture. You will also note a change during the adolescent years from a child being part of a group to being one of a couple each of the opposite sex. There is no age at which these changes take place and each young person is, of course, different.

These are times of intense and fluctuating emotions. The daughter who tells her parents she has found the man of her dreams and intends to marry him, is just as likely to bring a different boy home a fortnight later and declare the other one, ‘sad!’ You will need to know that your young person will often need to be left alone in public, however, we recommend that appropriate hugs do not stop at the onset of adolescence. Obviously you need to choose your times to show affection in this way but hugs are an excellent way to keep parental affection flowing.

There is a lovely story about a Romanian orphanage where the conditions were dreadful and the neglected children were slowly but surely dying. However, the overstretched doctor noticed that on one ward the children were getting better. An investigation was started into the reasons for this change. Was it the nursing care that was making the difference? No, the same nurses were caring for many other wards as well as the one where improvement was seen. Was it the food, perhaps the lighting, the outlook, the way the sun caught this particular ward?

None of these things were found to be unique to this ward. Yet, the children were getting better. So the doctor decided to get up very early one morning and decided to monitor the ward for 24 hours to observe whether there was a lesson to be learned.

The first person to visit the ward that morning was the cleaning lady. She got on her hands and knees and washed the floor but as she got to the first cot she stopped, stood up, picked up the child and held it, cooing and aahing into the little face. After a while she put the child back, got on her hands and knees, went on washing till she got to the next cot. Here the same thing happened, she got up, picked up the child and held it, cooing and aahing into the little face. Then she got back down on her knees and washed the floor.

image 22 Emotional roller coasterThe doctor realised that this small act of holding the children and showing affection was making the difference for this was the only ward the woman cleaned. There is never a time in our lives when we do not need the flow of affection by physical touch.

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