Table of contents:
Video: How Not To Educate A Maximalist - Society
For the third time during the session, the mother of thirteen-year-old Lisa is jumping up noisily from her chair and desperately gesturing: “Here, you’re a psychologist! You understand that life consists of shades! But she doesn't understand! She lives as if on a volcano! Any little thing is a life-long tragedy …"
Lisa fiddles with an elastic band on her hair, looks at the floor, sometimes at me. Slender, neatly dressed, always with a good manicure, often without makeup. But the girl endlessly corrects something, goes out to comb her hair, tint her lips with gloss, straighten her skirt. I ask what happened to her and why, in her opinion, mom is so worried. He is silent for a long time, looks at mom, inquiringly, or rather pleadingly …
Mom (by our preliminary agreement) is silent, since the question was asked to Lisa. Without waiting for help, the girl says, carefully choosing her words:
- Well, my mother says that I am too impressionable, that all the time I inflate an elephant out of a fly … That you need to think about lessons, and not about all sorts of nonsense …
- Do you have bad grades?
- Unfortunately yes…
Here Liza turns crimson and turns away, trying to hide her eyes from my gaze … Silence, sobs … Mom breaks the silence:
- Yes! Two fours in a quarter shine !!! What is she just thinking! Stupid!
What is youthful maximalism? What rules should the parents of a teenager adhere to in order for him to go through a difficult period with benefit for himself? How not to consolidate a youthful position and not turn it into a pathology of an adult personality?
Youthful maximalism is a feature of the psyche of adolescence, which is expressed in extreme straightforwardness, insufficient flexibility in judgments, categorical in conclusions and views. Pay attention - "a feature of the psyche." This means that we are not talking about developmental anomalies. To see in your teenager signs of maximalism in views and actions is absolutely normal and natural.
Rule 1: don't panic
You suddenly noticed that your always so calm and reasonably sensible child became hot-tempered and touchy, began to react sharply to every little thing, “blow the elephant out of the blue,” abandon things that did not work out the first time and categorically declare: “That's it! It will never work "," I will never be able, I will not be able, nothing will come of it … ".
Sit next to me and listen. Ask what exactly did not work out, support. Empathize, but don't give in to his mood. The difficulty of parental reaction is mainly that you need to adhere to a fine line in a relationship, be involved in the problem, and sincerely empathize. Your peace of mind and confidence that his situation always has a way out will give the child strength and help to get out of the crisis.
Rule 2: be patient
The period of youthful maximalism will pass. Yesterday you put all your business aside, pushed work and meetings into the background, turned off your phone and plunged headlong into the Most Universal Problem of the Millennium under the proud title “Life has no meaning - I have nothing to wear to the cinema! I'm not going anywhere!".
All evening they went through the wardrobe together, went shopping, drank tea and discussed with their beloved child what colors they wear this season and how it happened that she had nothing fashionable in her wardrobe. Choosing your words diligently, you tried to invest in this smart, but such a hot-tempered, receptive and categorical head that there are much more terrible things in life than the lack of a skirt of the right color.
I will stop here: it is important to do this without notation! Only specific examples and real people. Only in this way the child will hear and feel the situation. A neatly nested short example will play a bigger role than lengthy abstract lectures. By the end of the evening you, satisfied with yourself, went to bed, confident that everything worked out, you were heard, understood and everything will be fine now … And then - boom! - and the next day the girlfriends went to the cinema without calling your girl with them, and the story of the End of the World is right there again.
Patience! Exhale and start over. You are an excellent parent, and everything you say and do is important and necessary, nothing was in vain. But “Moscow was not built right away …”, therefore, for everything that was “laid down” to sprout and bear fruit, time must pass.
Rule 3: start with yourself
Look at yourself carefully and critically. How do you react to your failures or mistakes? And what about your child's mistakes? Do you criticize a lot? Are you raising the bar for yourself or others? How did you go through your period of youthful maximalism?
Let's go back to the story of thirteen-year-old Lisa. At the heart of children's maximalism is parental maximalism. Revealing the entire range of their relationship, it was impossible not to notice that all claims against Lisa can be safely attributed to her mother. Her reaction to the "scary two fours in a quarter" reveals the adult's inner conflict. What, then, can you expect from a teenager?
Parental maximalism, in this case - mother's, will put in the child's psyche the wrong reactions to difficult (and sometimes easily solved) life situations. And without correcting the mother's reactions, we will get a maximalist child. The roots of maximalism are laid in childhood and are mostly dependent on parents. It is the parent who has the ability to adjust their views on the world and on themselves. A typical mistake - over-praising for insignificant successes, incessantly admiring and "organizing" victories, knocking out marks from the teacher, forms a "helpless maximalist" - when victories were obtained the easy way, all the best "fell from the sky", and the child got used to that he is at the top and nothing is required of him.
Providing conditions for the possibility of real victories is the task of the parent.
And it will be possible to praise for real achievements. So, for example, having sent a child to a strong school, there is no need to be afraid that the school, having overestimated the requirements, will grow up a maximalist. What matters is not the requirements of the social institution, which can be high. A demanding school, a strict university form a character, bring up a strong and successful personality, providing an opportunity for real success. The parent's reaction to success or failure is important here - this is the main criterion for the psyche of a teenager.
Youthful maximalism is a necessary stage in the maturation of the psyche. It is this feature that helps the adolescent to feel the boundaries of his own emotions and, as a result, to learn how to manage them, correct and interact with them in the future. Just as a one-year-old baby, in the process of learning about the world, tastes everything that comes into his field of vision, so a teenager explores this world in relation to his own feelings and emotions, studying their depth and range.