Engaging adolescents

Navigating the teenage years can be difficult for many parents. These struggles are often amplified when you have moved from another country.

Participants in the Engaging Adolescents programFor many new immigrant families conflict arises as parents try to maintain traditional family values within their household while their teenagers want to adopt a new ‘western’ way of life.

Anglicare has successfully completed its first Engaging Adolescents - Parent Course at the Migrant Resource Centre for parents and carers from the Bhutanese community. Another two courses will be run mid-year for the Syrian/Iraqi and Hazara (Afghani) communities.

Mara Lovrin, a Counsellor and Community Educator with Anglicare, delivered the course. She has a teaching background and combines this expertise with her current counselling practice.

“Our first course with the Bhutanese community has been a huge success,” said Mara.

Ten people, both male and female, attended each week, and were fully involved. Everything was shared through a translator and Mara received incredibly positive feedback.

It seems that after a certain amount of time living here teenagers see another way of life and inevitably conflict arises within families.

These families face similar issues to those we have bringing up our teenagers. Participants said that their knowledge around what is and what’s not socially acceptable was clarified, and that was hugely helpful.

The sessions talked about parents building relationships with their children and making the best of their non-crisis conversations. A positive home environment means that they don’t need to parent everything.

“We explained that family outings, which encourage connectedness, are very important to maintain throughout the teenage years,” said Mara.

“We taught parents about brain maturation, how they are role models and the importance of modelling good behaviour.

Mara shared skills for how to hold tough conversations with teenagers and for handling those problems that can’t be ignored.

Participants shared of some of their struggles. For instance: the difficulties in obtaining a driver’s licence; the growing problem with alcohol and gambling; and the cultural issues around dating and marrying for love.

“I appreciated their willingness to share openly about their struggles, and a highlight for me was hearing their stories of what life was like for them growing up in Nepal,” said Mara.

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