I have met with a number of young people who are first generation children, born in the UK, of immigrant parents who have come to the UK from the Balkans over the years, through the troubles.
I see that there are commonalities in the way the Balkan expatriates raise their children.
They have a notion of “family” that one might find, for example, in rural Ireland, that one might not find in urban Britain.
This notion regards the way that young people are raised by their British parents as perhaps worrying. Too much emphasis they may say is placed on commodities and not enough is placed on community.
Combine this outlook with another, shaped in the horror of war and trauma, and one finds that children of Balkan parents can sometimes feel that their parents are too concerned with their welfare and uncomfortable with “The British Way” of raising children.
This can sometimes cause conflict that is bought to school or taken to the streets of our towns and cities.
As you move through this week, spare a thought for the people in our community who pass through our world invisibly but who still bear the scars of the horrors of civil war…missing parents, brothers, sisters, children.
How hard it must be for them to trust their children to a society they feel grateful to but also, under other circumstances, they might have chosen to avoid.
Whatever intervention I offer in my work this week in Bournemouth, Poole or Dorset ( as a couple counsellor, with teenagers and adolescents and as a family therapist and marriage counsellor) be it, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Mindfulness, Psychodrama, Person Centered Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Solution Focused Therapy, Integrative Therapy or Family Therapy, I am mindful that speaking about stressful events can activate feelings of fight or flight particularly for those who have grown up in stressful environments or been raised by parents still living with the the after effects of stress or even PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).