Teenage refugee support
Teenage refugee support. I offer specialist counselling for teenagers in Poole, as well as younger children, individuals, couples and families. I met with a young woman recently from Afghanistan who caused me to reflect on how experiences of older generations can have a direct impact on us today.
She told me that her dream is to become a doctor. She told me that she has always wanted to do this since she was a child and that her older sister is already well on the way to becoming a doctor.
We went on to speak about how anxiety can sometimes get in the way of her achievement and that her desire to succeed is effected by anxiety. She was baffled about anxiety and how she came to be afflicted by it. Furthermore, she wanted me to give her “strategies” to conquer the anxiety she feels and seemed disappointed when I asked her to first talk a little about her life. She said that her family were supportive and friendly however, like her they were at a loss to see how they could help or stop the anxiety attacks she was experiencing.
After a little time she told me her family story and we went back to the late 1970s. Her grandparents were professionals and left Afghanistan when the Russian invaders brought the country to a stand-still. Her mother is fluent in German as she and her brothers and sisters were taken to Germany her grandparents. Her father still remembers the worry his mother felt when they arrived in Germany that seemed like an alien land. With no money and few connections they got on well enough until the situation back home in Afghanistan became more stable and they returned.
Unfortunately the political situation in Afghanistan became such that her parents felt that they too, like her grandparents before them, should move away. Very hard indeed for her grandparents to leave home, but perhaps slightly easier for her parents to do so as the precedent had been set. Not that her parents were less connected to Afghanistan or that leaving their mother country was any easier for them than for her grandparents but her grandparents had shown her parents how to arrive in, and thrive in, a new county where language, culture, climate and the physical appearance of the locals was so different.
Her parents moved to London in the late 1990s and settled in the UK. It is my experience that people do not get through being refugee parents by being permissive and relaxed. Rather, I see that refugee parents are careful, watchful, like to keep their children close and observe traditional customs, not to stamp their identity on their new home but rather to ensure that their children absorb traditions and culture that are understandable and predictable to them as parents.
Teenage refugee support. To bring our story back to 2016, the young women I was speaking with told me that her mother had anxiety and her grandparents had anxiety but that this was normal because they had been refugees. She told me that she felt she had no reason to have anxiety as she was lucky to be living in a peaceful country and her ambition, she said, was to become a doctor so she could return to Afghanistan to provide care for those of her people who were unable to find peace, of sorts, abroad.
After a time we both understood how anxiety had woven it’s way into her family’s life and how she from a young age had been exposed to anxiety, it’s influence and it’s effects. This is a good place for us to start to work.
If you know someone who is anxious and you are looking for help for them or then why not get in contact with me.