I’ve been watching the Netflix series Never Have I Ever……about a California-born teen girl, Devi, whose father recently and suddenly dies. She is being raised by her East Indian-born mother with traditional Indian values.
Frequent conflict arises!
Not only does she feel deep suffering from losing her father whom she was very close to, but she also experiences a deep cultural divide between where she lives and her mother’s values. Many of you who have immigrated to the United States can relate to this struggle.
This show is often painful to watch because of the poor choices Devi makes based on her anger. She is seeing the school counselor who encourages her to listen to soothing music when she is angry rather than just reacting. “I can do that,” she thinks and at times she listens to a loving and life-confirming voicemail from her deceased father to calm her down.
Even with this new strategy, there are times Devi decides to not follow the counselor’s advice and instead nurtures and reacts from her anger which never turns out well for her or others. I wanted to yell out many times, “No! You’ll regret that decision” and she always does even as she tries to justify her poor choices to herself.
I bring up the value of watching this show even with all its painful moments because it’s an opportunity to understand the immature teen brain. We can learn to see Devi with compassion as she grapples with her anger which is fueled by many other feelings below the anger.
An important Independent Life Skill is the way one Expresses Anger. In this show, Devi grapples with learning how to recognize her anger before” blowing up” and making poor choices. When she experiences feelings of jealousy, hurt, inadequacy, rejection plus a myriad of other feelings under the anger, her limbic system is flaring and her prefrontal cortex doesn’t function well. Thus the poor choices.
I appreciate that she has a counselor to help her sort out her mixed feelings. I believe that you can learn some of the skills that therapists offer so you can become an effective supporter. Now, I realize that kids will be less likely to share what they are embarrassed about with you because who wants to be judged negatively by a parent whom they desperately want to love them? They often think, “How can I be lovable when I am “bad”?
Be careful of judging your child’s and teen’s immaturity in handling their anger. Emotional regulation takes time and your compassion will go a long way in making them feel accepted. And when you are not doing well managing your own anger, you too can work on learning what feelings you have under the anger so you can change your thoughts that are leading to anger. As I often say, parenting is an opportunity for personal growth.
Consider watching Never Have I Ever……on Netflix with your teenager and just listen to what they say about it. Please, no interrogating!
Don’t miss out on this fantastic opportunity to download “The 7 Most Common Phrases Parents Say That Stop Kids From Listening”! You’ll also receive my weekly emails where you will learn how to transform annoying conflict into loving cooperation in your home.
Cynthia is available for private coaching sessions so you can quickly get the answers you need and make those much need changes right away. Click HERE for a complimentary 45-minute Fast-Track Clarity Session to learn what you can do now to create more harmony in your home.
Copyright 2022 – Cynthia Klein, Family Happiness Expert – Coach, speaker, and author of Ally Parenting: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Transform Conflict Into Cooperation. Learn more about Cynthia’s services and contact her at her website, https://bridges2understanding.com. Contact Cynthia for permission to reproduce any information from this article.