Exam results and harvest time
It's harvest time – the apple trees are weighted with fruit. Exam results have either been announced or will be for our 16+ adolescents. One phrase bubbles up: What now?
Perhaps as a parent, you feel you have invested so much time, effort and money into your child and she/he hasn't done as well as you would've hoped; you feel guilty, let down, anxious. Your expectations have not been met and what's that about? Could it be that you feel squeezed between the rock (your parents) and a hard place (your adolescent)? Perhaps you feel you have done something “wrong”... and are feeling stuck. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that you feel angry – you wanted so much more for your child that you never had. For you it's a loss and sometimes anxiety sets in as well as depression, a missed opportunity to measure up with important people in your life. I wonder if you are living your aspirations or lack of, through your children. There may be other pressures too – your life, disappointment, a sense of failure, maybe feeling not good enough and changes are happening within your home. Some young people are off to university, leaving you with an empty nest – your tree which has shred its fruit and the family will have to readjust and adapt to certain roles, identities; perhaps the loss feels unbearable.
As a young person, where you achieved your predicted grades, congratulations! If not, where do you go from here? Perhaps you have feelings of guilt, being out of control, not listened to and mostly pressurised. The message is “you could've done better, we are angry, you've let us down and we've done so much for you!!!” It's my experience that some young people today are not heard or valued - you've got to be a round peg yet you're a square one. Maybe you have faced so many challenges – tried to measure up, find your own identity and so many directive messages have left you feeling out of control. People don't see you and so you made the choice to harness control. You're going to show “them” whose boss of your life. The bottom line is only you are.
We're all masters of our own destinies. Picking apples just now, I noticed how they were all individual – some big, some small yet most were perfect – worms have infiltrated and writing metaphorically I know how parents, grandparents and also friends, can become a debilitating factor of a life journey and self esteem. Growing up is hard and sometimes the past impacts our current lives.
OK, some of us weren't meant to be lawyers, doctors, bankers or accountants. It's the path you choose now where you can connect closely on a visceral platform. My integrative practice and belief is that you are perfect, albeit perhaps a little bruised or uncertain at the moment. With a counsellor, you can work on where the past impacts on the present. You do have choices and together you can work it out, in a safe place.
How does your future look now? What apples are you picking from your tree? Some will get thrown away or forgotten about; others will be prized, perhaps entered into the local fruit and vegetable festival. And if that were a picture, what would it look like? If it were a taste, would it be the bitter pill, hard to swallow and resulting in stomach aches? If your feelings were a sound, perhaps you could tell me more.
The future is yours and so are your choices.
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About Sarah Dean
I'm a qualified and registered member of the BACP and trained in London. An integrative counsellor, my practise is based on person-centred and psychodynamic theories.
I aim to enable adults and young people (13+) to achieve empowerment and work creatively with you on an open ended basis.
Specialisms include anxiety, bereavement and esteem.