By Reem Sharaf

With the new academic year upon us, many parents are busy preparing their children for school. An essential, but often times overlooked area of preparation is emotional and social preparedness. Parents need to equip their children with the tools to overcome the pressures and tolls school can have on them.

Research has shown that more and more children and adolescents are starting to establish negative patterns of behavior starting at an early age. Negative behavior such as: substance use (alcohol, tobacco, or drugs), early intimate relationships, gambling, and gang involvement. Contrary to common belief, this behavior can be found among children and adolescents in both public and private schools. Many Arab American parents like to believe their children won’t engage in any negative behavior, but the first step in helping our children is to be aware of the risks.

In 2014, the Journal of Muslim Mental Health published data on the prevalence of Muslim College students engaging in risky behavior. The behaviors they looked at were pre-marital sex, illicit drug use, marijuana use, gambling, tobacco use, and alcohol use. They found that 58.5% of Muslim students tried at least one behavior in the past year (Ahmed, 2014). Furthermore, they found that out of the 58.5% who tried one behavior, 77.6% tried two or more behaviors (Ahmed, 2014). Although the study was on college students, the numbers are similar among younger students as well. The statistics are alarming, but parents have the opportunity to guide their children away from these behaviors by equipping them with tools for emotional and social preparedness.

Five Tools for Emotional and Social Preparedness:

Parental Engagement

Develop a connection with your child and adolescent by engaging in their academic education, their social activities, their emotional growth, and social interactions. Being in tune with their needs will help you as a parent know how to personalize the care you give them and prove to them you have their back.       

Healthy Boundaries

Creating and maintaining healthy boundaries will make it logistically harder for children and adolescents to engage in negative behaviors. This does not mean to control their every move, but rather you give them the space to grow within the structure you set.        

Empathy

Children and adolescents are in a continuous process of self-discovery. This process comes with its share of insecurities, doubts, and confusion. As they try to create an identity for themselves, they are bound to make mistakes. Mistakes are part of this learning, growth process. Empathizing and helping our children and adolescents analyze their emotions, feelings, and mistakes, will help them develop confidence, develop healthy relationships –starting with their parents –  and create a persona that avoids these negative behaviors.       

Talking about Tough Topics

Every time parents close the door on the topics of substance use, intimate relationships, and other negative behaviors, we ultimately let children and adolescents open it up on their own. Parents have the opportunity to provide their children and adolescents with their first impression on these topics.        

Modeling Positive Behavior

Parents lose parental ground and credibility when they don’t model the patterns of behavior they want their children and adolescents to engage in. Be the role model your children need and the mirror they will imitate. Modeling how to handle tough situations and social pressures will equip them with a guide on handling similar situations during their academic school year and the rest of their lives.    

Ahmed, S., Abu-Ras, W., Arfken, C. (2014). Prevalence of risk behaviors among U.S. Muslim college students. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 8(1).        

‭ ‬بقلم‭ ‬ريم‭ ‬شرف

مع‭ ‬دخول‭ ‬العام‭ ‬الدراسي‭ ‬الجديد‭ ‬علينا‭ ‬ينشغل‭ ‬العديد‭ ‬من‭ ‬الآباء‭ ‬في‭ ‬إعداد‭ ‬أطفالهم‭ ‬للمدرسة‭. ‬ومن‭ ‬المجالات‭ ‬الأساسية‭ ‬ولكن‭ ‬غالبا‭ ‬ما‭ ‬يتم‭ ‬تجاهلها‭ ‬هو‭ ‬التحضير‭ ‬الاستعداد‭ ‬العاطفي‭ ‬والإجتماعي‭. ‬ويحتاج‭ ‬الآباء‭ ‬إلى‭ ‬تزويد‭ ‬أطفالهم‭ ‬بالأدوات‭ ‬اللازمة‭ ‬للتغلب‭ ‬على‭ ‬الضغوط‭ ‬التي‭ ‬يمكن‭ ‬أن‭ ‬تشكلها‭ ‬المدرسة‭. ‬وقد‭ ‬أظهرت‭ ‬الأبحاث‭ ‬أن‭ ‬عددا‭ ‬متزايدا‭ ‬من‭ ‬الأطفال‭ ‬والمراهقين‭ ‬بدأوا‭ ‬في‭ ‬وضع‭ ‬أنماط‭ ‬سلوكية‭ ‬سلبية‭ ‬بدءا‭ ‬من‭ ‬سن‭ ‬مبكر‭. ‬فالسلوك‭ ‬السلبي‭ ‬مثل‭ ‬استخدام‭ ‬المخدرات‭ (‬الكحول‭ ‬والتبغ‭ ‬أو‭ ‬المخدرات‭) ‬والعلاقات‭ ‬الحميمة‭ ‬في‭ ‬وقت‭ ‬مبكر‭ ‬والمقامرة‭ ‬ومشاركة‭ ‬العصابات‭. ‬وخلافا‭ ‬للإعتقاد‭ ‬السائد‭ ‬يمكن‭ ‬العثور‭ ‬على‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬السلوك‭ ‬بين‭ ‬الأطفال‭ ‬والمراهقين‭ ‬في‭ ‬المدارس‭ ‬العامة‭ ‬والخاصة‭ ‬على‭ ‬السواء‭. ‬ويعتقد‭ ‬العديد‭ ‬من‭ ‬الآباء‭ ‬والأمهات‭ ‬في‭ ‬أمريكا‭ ‬أن‭ ‬أطفالهم‭ ‬لن‭ ‬يشاركوا‭ ‬في‭ ‬أي‭ ‬سلوك‭ ‬سلبي‭ ‬ولكن‭ ‬الخطوة‭ ‬الأولى‭ ‬في‭ ‬مساعدة‭ ‬أطفالنا‭ ‬هي‭ ‬أن‭ ‬نكون‭ ‬على‭ ‬بينة‭ ‬من‭ ‬المخاطر‭.‬

ففي‭ ‬عام‭ ‬2014‭ ‬نشرت‭ ‬مجلة‭ ‬الصحة‭ ‬العقلية‭ ‬المسلمة‭ ‬بيانات‭ ‬عن‭ ‬أن‭ ‬طلاب‭ ‬الجامعات‭ ‬المسلمين‭ ‬ينخرطون‭ ‬في‭ ‬سلوكيات‭ ‬محفوفة‭ ‬بالمخاطر‭. ‬وكانت‭ ‬السلوكيات‭ ‬التي‭ ‬نظروا‭ ‬إليها‭ ‬هي‭ ‬الجنس‭ ‬قبل‭ ‬الزواج‭ ‬والإستخدام‭ ‬غير‭ ‬المشروع‭ ‬للمخدرات‭ ‬واستخدام‭ ‬الماريجوانا‭ ‬والقمار‭ ‬وتعاطي‭ ‬التبغ‭ ‬وتعاطي‭ ‬الكحول‭. ‬ووجدوا‭ ‬أن‭ ‬58‭.‬5٪‭ ‬من‭ ‬الطلاب‭ ‬المسلمين‭ ‬جربوا‭ ‬سلوك‭ ‬سيئ‭ ‬واحد‭ ‬على‭ ‬الأقل‭ ‬في‭ ‬العام‭ ‬الماضي‭ (‬أحمد‭ ‬2014‭). ‬وعلاوة‭ ‬على‭ ‬ذلك‭ ‬وجدوا‭ ‬أنه‭ ‬من‭ ‬أصل‭ ‬58.5٪‭ ‬ممن‭ ‬حاولوا‭ ‬سلوكا‭ ‬واحدا‭ ‬حاول‭ ‬77‭.‬6٪‭ ‬سلوكين‭ ‬أو‭ ‬أكثر‭ (‬أحمد‭ ‬2014‭). ‬على‭ ‬الرغم‭ ‬من‭ ‬أن‭ ‬الدراسة‭ ‬كانت‭ ‬على‭ ‬طلاب‭ ‬الجامعات‭ ‬فإن‭ ‬الأرقام‭ ‬متشابهة‭ ‬بين‭ ‬الطلاب‭ ‬الأصغر‭ ‬سنا‭ ‬كذلك‭. ‬فالإحصاءات‭ ‬مثيرة‭ ‬للقلق‭ ‬ولكن‭ ‬الآباء‭ ‬لديهم‭ ‬الفرصة‭ ‬لتوجيه‭ ‬أبنائهم‭ ‬بعيدا‭ ‬عن‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬السلوكيات‭ ‬بتزويدهم‭ ‬بأدوات‭ ‬للتأهب‭ ‬العاطفي‭ ‬والإجتماعي‭.‬

خمس‭ ‬أدوات‭ ‬للتأهب‭ ‬العاطفي‭ ‬والاجتماعي‭:‬

مشاركة‭ ‬الوالدين

تطوير‭ ‬التواصل‭ ‬مع‭ ‬طفلك‭ ‬والمراهق‭ ‬من‭ ‬خلال‭ ‬الانخراط‭ ‬في‭ ‬التعليم‭ ‬الأكاديمي‭ ‬وأنشطتهم‭ ‬الإجتماعية‭ ‬ونموهم‭ ‬العاطفي‭ ‬والتفاعلات‭ ‬الإجتماعية‭. ‬ومن‭ ‬المهم‭ ‬التناغم‭ ‬مع‭ ‬احتياجاتهم‭ ‬والتي‭ ‬سوف‭ ‬تساعدك‭ ‬كوالد‭ ‬يتعرف‭ ‬على‭ ‬كيفية‭ ‬تخصيص‭ ‬الرعاية‭ ‬وإثبات‭ ‬لهم‭ ‬أنك‭ ‬ستحميهم‭.‬

الحدود‭ ‬الصحية

إن‭ ‬خلق‭ ‬حدود‭ ‬صحية‭ ‬والحفاظ‭ ‬عليها‭ ‬سيجعل‭ ‬من‭ ‬الصعب‭ ‬على‭ ‬الأطفال‭ ‬والمراهقين‭ ‬أن‭ ‬يتصرفوا‭ ‬بسلوكيات‭ ‬سلبية‭. ‬هذا‭ ‬لا‭ ‬يعني‭ ‬السيطرة‭ ‬على‭ ‬كل‭ ‬خطوة‭ ‬ولكن‭ ‬بدلا‭ ‬من‭ ‬ذلك‭ ‬تعطي‭ ‬لهم‭ ‬مساحة‭ ‬لتنمو‭ ‬داخل‭ ‬الحدود‭ ‬التي‭ ‬وضعتها‭.‬

العطف

الأطفال‭ ‬والمراهقون‭ ‬هم‭ ‬في‭ ‬حالة‭ ‬مستمرة‭ ‬من‭ ‬الإكتشاف‭ ‬الذاتي‭. ‬وتأتي‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬العملية‭ ‬بنصيبها‭ ‬من‭ ‬انعدام‭ ‬الأمن‭ ‬والشكوك‭ ‬والارتباك‭. ‬وبينما‭ ‬يحاولون‭ ‬خلق‭ ‬هوية‭ ‬لأنفسهم‭ ‬فإنهم‭ ‬لا‭ ‬بد‭ ‬لهم‭ ‬من‭ ‬ارتكاب‭ ‬الأخطاء‭. ‬وهي‭ ‬جزء‭ ‬من‭ ‬هذا‭ ‬التعلم‭ ‬وعملية‭ ‬النمو‭. ‬إن‭ ‬التعاطف‭ ‬مع‭ ‬أطفالنا‭ ‬ومراهقينا‭ ‬ومساعدتهم‭ ‬على‭ ‬تحليل‭ ‬مشاعرهم‭ ‬وأخطائهم‭ ‬سيساعدهم‭ ‬على‭ ‬تنمية‭ ‬الثقة‭ ‬وتطوير‭ ‬علاقات‭ ‬صحية‭ ‬مع‭ ‬أبائهم‭ ‬وخلق‭ ‬شخصية‭ ‬تتجنب‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬السلوكيات‭ ‬السلبية‭.‬

الحديث‭ ‬عن‭ ‬موضوعات‭ ‬صعبة

في‭ ‬كل‭ ‬مرة‭ ‬يغلق‭ ‬الآباء‭ ‬الباب‭ ‬على‭ ‬مواضيع‭ ‬استخدام‭ ‬المخدرات‭ ‬والعلاقات‭ ‬الحميمة‭ ‬والسلوكيات‭ ‬السلبية‭ ‬الأخرى‭ ‬ويجب‭ ‬علينا‭ ‬أن‭ ‬نفتح‭ ‬للأطفال‭ ‬والمراهقين‭ ‬بنافذة‭ ‬من‭ ‬تلقاء‭ ‬نفسها‭. ‬ويتاح‭ ‬للوالدين‭ ‬الفرصة‭ ‬لتزويد‭ ‬أولادهم‭ ‬ومراهقهم‭ ‬بانطباعاتهم‭ ‬الأولى‭ ‬عن‭ ‬هذه‭ ‬المواضيع‭.‬

نمذجة‭ ‬السلوك‭ ‬الإيجابي

يفقد‭ ‬الآباء‭ ‬والأمهات‭ ‬المصداقية‭ ‬عندما‭ ‬لا‭ ‬يكونون‭ ‬نموذجا‭ ‬لأنماط‭ ‬السلوك‭ ‬التي‭ ‬يرغبون‭ ‬أطفالهم‭ ‬ومراهقيهم‭ ‬في‭ ‬الانخراط‭ ‬فيها‭. ‬فكن‭ ‬النموذج‭ ‬الذي‭ ‬يحتاجه‭ ‬أطفالك‭ ‬والمرآة‭ ‬التي‭ ‬سيقلدونها‭. ‬فكن‭ ‬النموذج‭ ‬عن‭ ‬كيفية‭ ‬التعامل‭ ‬مع‭ ‬المواقف‭ ‬الصعبة‭ ‬والضغوط‭ ‬الإجتماعية‭ ‬وتزويدهم‭ ‬بأساليب‭ ‬التعامل‭ ‬مع‭ ‬حالات‭ ‬مماثلة‭ ‬خلال‭ ‬العام‭ ‬الدراسي‭ ‬وبقية‭ ‬حياتهم‭.‬

المصدر‭: ‬أحمد‭ ‬S‭.‬‭ ‬أبو‭-‬راس‭ ‬W‭. ‬أرفكين‭ ‬C‭. (‬2014‭). ‬انتشار‭ ‬السلوكيات‭ ‬الخطرة‭ ‬بين‭ ‬الطلاب‭ ‬المسلمين‭ ‬بالجامعات‭ ‬الأميركية‭. ‬مجلة‭ ‬الصحة‭ ‬النفسية‭ ‬الإسلامية‭ ‬8‭ (‬1‭).‬