Rejection is not our greatest fear. Our greatest fear is to be invisible.
The teenagers of our country today, and if I may say so, of every country in this world, are desperately trying to be seen. Today, in this age and scenario, what teenagers want above everything else is them to be seen in the context of a meaningful relationship with adults. This surprisingly, when communicated to some adults and parents, shocks them greatly and they exclaim wondering if teenagers want to be seen by us so much then why do they act away? Why do they not just come out and ask for it?
And that's a good question.
To answer this, in the words of Dr Rob
Teenagers are experience-rich but language-poor
They might be experience-rich and language-poor but they do want to be seen in the context of being heard patiently. Teenagers being ignored often have something to say if someone lends them a patient ear – I know I avoid them but they also avoid me. And I don't know how to not avoid them but I don't want them to avoid me.
Many Indian teenagers have this complaint, and they do not do this out of contempt or want of attention, that Indian parents are either a bit too nosy or a bit too Not nosy. They either have to chuck themselves into every single aspect of their child's life even when said child is old enough to be able to live on their own, or they do not pay attention at all.
You don't have to be a psychotherapist to be able to see a teenager. You don't have to go to grad school and you don't need a duffel bag of tricks. All you need is the willingness to be able to see teenagers. They're desperate to be seen. To be heard. To be told that you are there for them and that the things that matter to them matter to you.
Just go out on the street. Or any school that teaches teenage students. You'll have the opportunity to see them or to look away. To smile at them and think what I wouldn't have given when I was a teenager for an adult to lovingly smile at me. Go up to them, ask them their name, invite them up for coffee. If you're at least having a contact in some way, send them a snap, or an SMS on what is up with them. Just talk to them.
It doesn't take much, but they are waiting to be seen, even desperate and frustrated with not being seen at all by anyone. Literally anyone. Go to them and remove from their life this Cloak of invisibility and give them the gift of your attention and know that it will make a difference in their life, in your life.
For our dear parents out there, some help for you: