The teenage years can be very challenging for both those going through them and those in the caretaking role, whether they be parents or teachers. Flower essences offer an alternative to the head-on collisions which so often occur across the generation gap.
Adolescence is essentially a time of transition when the child, rather like the caterpillar in the pupa, transforms into the adult or butterfly. Adolescents are no longer children, and not yet adults. They, too, are sealed off in a pupa-like reality where perspective on the world is entirely subjective and minor incidents take on life or death proportions, where being blocked or frustrated can feel like the end of the world. However, the intensity of the emotions they experience is not to be underestimated. It is wise to take them seriously in a society where the teenage suicide rate is alarmingly high, where drugs and alcohol are freely available to provide escape from emotional pain and the potential threats to our off-springs’ safety, whether on the roads, in clubs or from sexual exploitation, are almost too numerous to bear contemplation.
Teenagers are not automatically difficult and ‘otherwise’. They need to feel heard and understood and it is up to us, the adults, to develop the listening and caring skills, to be able to listen without judgement or criticism, to avoid dishing out unasked for advice and to simply be there for them, unconditionally and solidly, keeping our own egos out of the way and guiding from the background. Perhaps the first flower essence applicable is the Parenting Essence to put us in the right frame of mind to undertake this. It contains, among other essences Keurtjie Essence to enhance our nurturing ability, and Pomegranate Essence and Sunflower Essence to balance our inner female and male energies, respectively.
Growing up is a scary affair. Outwardly adult yet inwardly child, the teenager is thrust headlong into the adult world, ready or not. It is a time fraught with indecision, where the decisions which have to be made range from “what subjects do I choose to study” or “do I take drugs” to “do I sleep with my boyfriend” and have far reaching consequences. For this indecision we recommend Strelitzia Essence to assist in finding the right path and Australian Tea Tree Essence for sticking to it.
Adolescent Essence is specifically designed to assist teenagers in the transformative process. It is a combination of the following seven essences, each of which can also be used individually when it seems appropriate – Cape Almond Essence, Dune Calendula Essence, Loquat Essence, Maple Essence, Mountain Cabbage Tree Essence, Plumbago Essence, and Wild Pear Essence.
Cape Almond Essence grounds one and provides a sense of security, enabling one to act from a sense of personal authority as opposed to following the crowd like a sheep. It addresses the issues of fear of making a fool of oneself, fear of failure and fear of the future, enabling one to develop self-confidence and act from a sense of personal power. It can be successfully combined with Ixia Essence which also strengthens one’s self-confidence and is indicated for shyness, timidity or introversion. Similarly, Oreganum Essence allows one to be at ease being oneself, without the need to pretend to be what one’s peers expect one to be. These are all very vital issues that teenagers face on a daily basis as they battle to establish their identities in the world, in the glaring blaze of the often cruel spot-light focused upon them by their contemporaries.
Dune Calendula Essence is an essence which deals with periods of transition whether it be adolescence, mid-life crisis or as a result of divorce or death. Whenever you, or those you care about, are facing a period of change in your life, this is the essence to use. The changes which divorce or death bring, when combined with the already burdensome matter of growing up, are often seriously traumatic for teenagers. Adults, caught up in their own pain, are less available to provide a support system for youngsters whose worlds have often collapsed in confusing disarray. Use Wattle Essence for unexpressed emotions, Dog Rose Essence for grief which is being denied or not verbalised, English Hawthorne Essence for broken-heartedness, intense grief or remorse, Cancer Bush Essence for inner turmoil and torment and Peach Essence for the effects of past trauma or even for a melancholic state of mind. The South African Oak Essence will help stabilise when one feels unrooted, or use it for the after-effects of trauma.
When your teenagers mope around at home complaining of being bored, don’t want to get out of bed or eat properly, are unwilling to participate in anything with enthusiasm and are generally apathetic, give them Loquat Essence. This essence assists them in taking hold of life and getting on with it. It is also the main remedy indicated for anorexia, although we would suggest that, for this condition, you take an indepth look as well at the issues of depressed anger, self worth and self-esteem, for which there are appropriate essences indicated in the handbook or the abbreviated guide. Freesia Essence is also a wonderful essence for apathy and a “what’s the use” attitude. Also remember Cucumber Essence for lack of vitality and interest in life, for a sense of being defeated, for withdrawal and pessimism, when it is all just too much effort. Australian Tea Tree Essence or Jacaranda Essence are useful for procrastination.
The other end of the spectrum is when your adolescent children are never at home, always on the go, “filling that unforgiving minute with sixty second’s worth of distance run”, to quote Kipling. Maple Essence is for those who burn the candle at both ends, possibly depleting their physical resources. It is particularly recommended for periods of physical growth and brings about a sense of balance and harmony. Similarly, Zimbabwe Creeper Essence brings a sense of moderation if you have one of those teenagers who drive themselves too hard to achieve, for whom no success is enough, or who feel they have to do it all themselves, by themselves. In this instance, we would also recommend the Inner Child Essence , another combination essence, as it is highly probable that unresolved childhood fears of not being good enough, and issues of lack of self-worth, are contributing factors to the need to excel at any cost.
As anger is pretty much par for the course, somewhere along the line, in bringing up adolescents, a quick look at the relevant essences may be helpful. Belladonna Lily Essence is for the desire to blame and punish and for uncontrollable temper, Wild Pear Essence is for bitterness, resentment, holding grudges and the inability to forgive and Fuchsia Essence is applicable when the anger is suppressed and emotional expression inhibited.
It is important to remember that, as much as we may wish it otherwise, a teenager who is always responsible and well behaved is not behaving appropriately. Adolescence requires that teenagers are sometimes irresponsible, rebellious and difficult. This is the appropriate time to be this way and when we, the caretakers, demand otherwise we are creating the setting for the thirty-nine year old who kicks up his heels, throws caution and responsibility to the winds and plunges into an affair or builds a yacht and sails away into the distant blue yonder. We all know people who are unable to grow up, to pull their weight in carrying their share of the responsibilities, whether it be paying the morgage bond or parenting their children. Perhaps we can even recognise these characteristics in ourselves. If we want our offspring to mature into responsible adults, we need to give them the space to be adolescents, to be irrational, temperamental, irresponsible and extreme. The indicated essence is probably once again Parenting Essence for us (see article – Parenting, taking Nature’s helping hand). However, of course, there are times when teenagers do have to knuckle down and be responsible. Mountain Cabbage Tree Essence is the essence to give them (or those overgrown adolescents we referred to!) and when the irresponsibility is accompanied by self-pity and unreliability, try White Geranium Essence .
Recognise that your children are individuals with their own dreams, aspirations and ambitions. Don’t expect them to fulfill yours by being and doing all you couldn’t. When your teenagers are writing exams give them space, understanding and Study Essence (Their results are not a reflection on your parenting!) Spur Flower Essence is particularly useful for mathematics as it works to integrate the two brain lobe functions. We recommend that you make Stress Essence part of their daily regime at these times and Crisis Remedy calms those butterflies in the tummy. Orange Pincushion Essence is for panic, fear and shock. If they have to present orals, act or speak in public, use Cosmos Essence. Creativity Essence is a great help for any artistic expression, any creative writing or lateral thinking.
Observing your offspring as objectively as you can and assessing what they are trying to communicate by their posture, appearance and behaviour, can be useful. Sometimes adolescents are lanky and awkward and feel as though they have not fully taken hold of their physical bodies yet. Combination Flower Essences will ground them and Rosemary Essence will bring them into their bodies. That customary teenage habit of slouching around, head down, hands deep in pockets, is very telling if you stop to read the signs. If one feels good about oneself one holds oneself upright and looks others in the eye. People hang their heads in shame. Lack of self-worth and self-esteem, a sense of underservability and that question of shame, which our society tends to avoid confronting at all costs, are hugely important factors in how we feel about ourselves and how we interact with the world. Wild Jasmine Essence is a wonderful helping hand in learning to love ourselves.
Adults, who themselves carry shame, pass it on unconsciously to their children. There are so many subtle ways to shame a teenager and, if we can become conscious of the messages we imprint on our children’s psyches, we can set about changing ourselves. Instead of berating them for all the things they are not, we need to tell them, and show them from the moment of birth onwards, how loved they are, how wonderful, beautiful, intelligent and deserving of the very best life has to offer. We want the beliefs and attitudes they absorb, and build their lives on, to be as strong and positive as we can possibly make them. Give up the “I want does not get” attitude. We want our children to dream and to want more, knowing it is within reach – it motivates them!
One of the problems in implementing this is that, if we ourselves have unresolved issues of shame, guilt or undeservability, because our children are so close to us and we feel them to be intrinsically part of us, we will probably find it difficult to give them what we do not have ourselves. Consciousness is the key and that is within reach of everyone. Become aware of your own isssues and use flower essences to help you peel off the old skins, like the layers on an onion, to free yourself and those you love. Crab Apple Essence, Plum Essence, Plumbago Essence, and Fig Essence are all essences to work with for clearing the past and letting go of unnecessary baggage. Remember that you have within you an inner child and an inner adolescent and that you may be projecting the unresolved angers, betrayals and pain of your own youth onto your offspring – Red Camellia Essence, Sugar Bush Protea Essence, the Inner Child Essence and Adolescent Essence address this part of you and can make a huge difference.
Relationships are an intrinsic part of growing up. Pompom Tree Essence, which deals with the fear of making oneself vulnerable to others and the fear of being rejected, can be of enormous help. When that almost inevitable wounding occurs, and adolescent pain is no less real than adult pain, use Periwinkle Essence .
Auric Protection Essence is a growing favourite with those who frequent clubs and raves as it provides a protective shield against negativity. Substance Abuse Essence is the one to remember if you even suspect that your teenagers may be smoking, drinking excessively, using marijuana or chemical substances. It contains, among other essences, Wild Dagga Essence, Morning Glory Essence and Nicotiana Essence, which can also be used singly, as appropriate. Remember Stress Essence and Crisis Remedy for yourself, if you sit up at night worrying when they are out on the town!
The point we want our teenagers to reach is where they have an inner knowing “I’m okay just the way I am. I don’t have to prove anything to myself or anyone else. I am capable, I value myself and I want to stretch myself, dream into the future I want to create for myself and my world. I want to reach into exciting, new areas for the pleasure of exploring myself and my abilities”…then we have a future generation equipped to take our planet into the twenty-first century.