Prof. Tarhan: “Show ambition in education, but be content with outcome”

President of Üsküdar University, Psychiatrist Prof. Nevzat Tarhan was the guest of the 'Parent Academy' event organized by Asfa College. Sharing his remarks on many subjects such as pandemic, adolescent psychology, happy family, Tarhan said that happy families have 3 secrets such as spending time together, using words of appreciation frequently and fulfilling religious requirements together. Stating that a home needs security just like the world needs sun and rain, Tarhan said to the youth, "Show ambition in education, but be content with the outcome."

 “The negative effects of the pandemic were severely felt in adolescents”

Tarhan, who was a guest of an Instagram live broadcast under the title of "Psychology Talks", stated that adolescents were affected by the pandemic at least as much as the older age group. Tarhan said, “The pandemic has had a serious global impact. After the pandemic, we had a concern. We thought that there may be an increase in post-pandemic psychiatric diseases globally. What we feared came true, however, something interesting happened. We expected that more in advanced age not to be able to recover after the pandemic. However, we saw that there were seen too much during adolescence. After the pandemic, serious hospitalizations, behavioral disorders, running away from home, truantry from school and inability to adapt were observed in adolescents. There is a 25% increase in the adolescent patient population. This has had a global impact and not only in Türkiye. There is a serious traumatic effect of the pandemic here. What is trauma? If the person handles the trauma correctly, it improves the person. If a person deals with it in a wrong manner, it will collapse the person and disrupt their mental health. In fact, such global, mental health-destroying trauma cannot be said to be good. This shows that the Covid pandemic continues by changing shape. Ibn-i Sina said, ‘Eat well, sleep well, greet from afar’ when there is a plague epidemic. He recommended literally social distancing. Due to the plague, his students wanted to escape. He said ‘No, that's our job. We will stay.’. He washed his hands with vinegar and examined people. That’s why this is a global thing like a plague epidemic. This is an infliction by the divine revelation of the creator of the universe to us. That's how I look at this pandemic period. Mankind thought themselves eternal in the world. They thought they were the god of the earth. In fact, they realized how helpless, weak and powerless they were during the pandemic period. Mankind remembered once again who the real creator was. In fact, there is a wisdom of destiny here. Such a calamity reminded people that: Mankind thought that they were omnipotent. I do everything. I will do anything. Metaverse is out. People were saying that they will do this, they will do that globally. Seriously, God said to people that you are not the god of the earth.”.

 “Psychological resilience means psychological flexibility”

Stating that people respond to this situation with different behavioral styles in moments of trauma, Tarhan made evaluations on the inner human type within the framework of the concept of psychological resilience. Tarhan said, “What we understand by psychological resilience is important. There are three types of people. One is a sponge type person. The sponge collapses. Sponge-type people absorb stress. They sit down, cry, collapse, constantly they feel sorry for themselves. These people become depressed. The second type of people are Teflon people. Teflon pans themselves do not burn, however, they burn anyone who touches them. These people are also selfish in the face of stress. They do not allow themselves to be touched, but they are not bothered by the suffering and discomfort of others, they are selfish. After a while, they are alone. Neither of these is psychological resilience. The third type is the rubber type. Rubber flexes under stress. When the stress passes, it becomes like how it was before. In fact, psychological resilience means psychological flexibility. For example, you encountered an event. You will manage that event. You will learn something and move on. There is a stress brought on by modernism and popular culture. People live as if they are not going to die, but they are afraid of the reality of death. Even regarding this, Our Prophet has a saying: 'My ummah will have a disease in the End of the World. With that disease, my nation will be like garbage in a river. It will be a lot, but it will be messy.' He then calls this disease a brain disease. What is brain disease? When he says it, he says that it is to love the world very much and to be afraid of death. The love of the world becomes the fear of death. At this time, even the most religious people have this fear. So, what is the solution to this? To be the opposite of being afraid. When Socrates is going to die, they say, 'Why aren't you afraid of death?' He says, 'Why should a person be afraid of death, who lives every day of his life as if it were his last.' If we manage to live each day as if it is the last day of our lives, you will not be afraid of death at all, you will add meaning to your life.”.

 “The world needs sun and rain while a home needs trust”

Making remarks on the characteristics of a happy family, Tarhan underlined that a home should be a comfort zone. Tarhan said, “There is an international study on family relations, which was carried out at the University of Nebraska in the USA. Three characteristics have been identified in happy families. The first one is to spend time together. Happiness score rises in families where you spend a lot of time together. The second one is to use words of appreciation, praise, and approval a lot. After reading the literature, I came across a Hadith. It says in the hadith that ‘Spouses are kind to each other.’. In our culture, on the contrary, there are ego wars. Instead of saying you are doing it like this, we must say that I think it would be better if it was like this. When you do this, you establish a relationship without degrading or humiliating the other party. Words of appreciation, praise, approval… Does a wife have nothing to be appreciated at home? It is necessary to establish a complementary relationship. Thirdly, it was seen that there were families who went to church together. That’s why philosophy of life must be the same. They will make time for each other. They will invest in each other. They will use nice words of appreciation, praise, approval. If it happens in that way, the home becomes a very warm and safe space. In other words, a mother and father should make their home a safe place. Children should be able to come home running. On the way home, the spouse should be able to say that I should finish my work as soon as possible and go home. There would be minor storms. Don't worry, they'll get better somehow. The whole job is to make the house a place of trust, a center of attraction. Make sure that the house being in that way is the biggest need of this age. Healthy children are raised in families that can do this. A climate inside the house is necessary to raise healthy children. Just as the world needs sun and rain, the house should be a safe space. The thing that affects the child the most is not the conference or the preach, but the experiences lived together. The child forgets what has been said. They remember what they have read and repeated, but they do not forget what they have experienced. It is not desirable for parents to be "bro, bestie". There is a mother role. There is a father role. They have a child role. There is a spouse role. There is a role-sharing. There are three types of relationships in parent-child relationships. There is a friend relationship. There is a parental relationship. There is also a friendly relationship. These relations, friendship relations and companionship relations are like traveling partner. In our culture, husband and wife are not called a couple. We got the word couple from the west. In our culture, husband and wife are called Refika. Refika means companion. We should strive to be lifelong companions to our child, not like someone who interferes a lot in their private life in the form of 'bro, bestie'. The parents will be the guide of the child, but they will not replace the child and act as the captain in their lives, will not interfere with the child in everything, and will not establish a distanced relationship with the child. Being able to adjust this is a bit of a skill. It is a parenting skill. Parents do not take the place of a teenager. Friends are more important than parents during adolescence. However, the child wants to be both special and belong to their family. A child wants to both be an individual and belong to the family. If you know where the child is going, what the child is doing, if you sit and talk when he comes home, if you have a close relationship, if he can talk to you about everything, this is enough in such cases. Expecting more will cause the child to become too bored. It runs away. If you squeeze too much like soap, it will run away. If you leave it loose, it will run away. It will be a sweet discipline for that. It will be a road trip relationship. It will be a companion relationship rather than a 'bro, bestie' relationship.”.

 “We should allow adolescents to make mistakes”

Tarhan stated that it is necessary to give space to young people in adolescence to make mistakes and to enable them to understand right and wrong. Tarhan said, “Before the age of 12, if the roles of parents and children are good at home, if there is a warm relationship at home, if everything can be talked and shared, if the house is a warm atmosphere, adolescence passes easily. Adolescence is a period of protest against parents. Adolescence is the period of ganging up. The child asks ‘Who am I, which direction should I go, why?’. Friend becomes more important than parents, this is normal. That's why, while I was researching it, adolescence is called ‘delikanlılık’ (literal translation: mad-bloodedness) in our culture. I have researched and it was accepted as the normal schizophrenic period, back then, in the psychology literature. In other words, if a thirty-forty-year-old person does the behavior of an adolescent, you can say that you are schizophrenic. It is so unbalanced. Then, something interesting happened, I came across the Hadith. “Adolescence is a branch of insanity,” says the Prophet. Can you imagine such a pedagogical determination? I was amazed. Therefore, at this age, we will allow the child to make some mistakes. He will make mistakes, by trial and error, that the outside world is fake. What is said is fake, what is said on those televisions is fake…Going out or going out with friends is a risk, but life is a risk. Nothing can be learned without taking risks. For example, if the child goes out, they get cold and sweat, it is a risk. Then, should we raise the child in a bell-jar at home? If parents say ‘I'm here for you if you need it’, they'll give him encouragement.".

“Parenthood is not to make the child happy, however, it is to prepare the child for life”

Giving remarkable examples of raising children, Tarhan underlined that providing the child with everything he wants is not ideal parenthood. Stressing the importance of preparing the child for life, Tarhan said, “The child takes three things as an example in the family; mother, father and the relationship of both. If these three are good, there is nothing to be afraid. The child makes mistakes and says my parents say they were right. In that way, the child pulls themselves together again. In the past, the society protected the moral rules, now there is no good in this society, the state was protecting it, and there is no good in it. Therefore, if a parent spared half an hour for their child fifty years ago, we will now spare an hour and talk, discuss and give them the opportunity to ask questions and object. Talking about emotions in our culture… For example, if you ask someone to tell about their mother, they will say ‘she is a very good person’ and they will be quite afterward. If we ask a western person, they will talk about their mother for ten minutes. So, we have a little emotional expression problem. We will sit down and talk about our feelings, we will talk about the events. The environment is so bad, there is no need to worry, rest assured, you will raise a healthy child despite of everything. Otherwise, you would say that ‘you are my child, I love you, I value you, but I do not approve of this behavior.’".

Stating that we work on parental attitudes that leave the child in seventy eighty percent of the cases that come to the child psychiatrist, Tarhan said, “For example, are there high standards at home regarding the parents? Are they always a perfectionist, or does everyone expect to raise a perfect child? For example, is there loose discipline in the family? Is there overcontrol, excessive intervention? We are looking at all this. If the intrusive score is high within the family, the child seeks happiness outside. There are even some mothers, we call them invading mothers. Some mothers are called helicopter mothers and even now drone mothers. I mean, the child goes to the toilet, and they knock on the door and ask what they are doing. Thus, think about that degree of control. Parenthood does not mean doing everything the child says or overprotect the child. Parenthood means not making the child happy, but preparing the child for life. The child will use the opportunities offered by the parents to the child wisely. The child will develop himself with these opportunities. In other words, it is the parents who will create a climate of opportunity and possibility. They will create an area of opportunity, and they will create areas of possibility. The child will enter here, try and learn. Let's not be afraid of this trial and error, but if the child thinks that my father is with me and my mother is with me, the child will feel safe even if the child goes somewhere, even if he makes a mistake. He sees the house as a shelter and finds himself at home at the end of the day.”.

“Show ambition in collecting, but be content with the outcome”

Drawing attention to the sense of responsibility in children in his speech, Prof. Nevzat Tarhan said that there are two types of children as with high and low sense of responsibility. Tarhan said, “Now even if you tell children with a high sense of responsibility not to study, they get stressed. A child with a high sense of responsibility; even if you say, "Don’t mind the lesson, feel comfortable," their anxiety will increase because the lesson is mentioned. He already has a high sense of responsibility. Also, if parents say ‘come on, you should study, time is late already’…. When his anxiety increases, he experiences exam stress. What happens in exam stress? He is thinking whether I will pass or not in the exam. In our culture there is a nice saying on contentment. ‘Show ambition in education, but be content with the outcome.’ Ambition in education, but contentment in the outcome… Let them hang on to the lecture, but be satisfied with the result. If the mother is like this, if the father is like this, the child will be like this. Otherwise, the target and the child will feel very bad here if they always compare whether you have succeeded or not. For this reason, the child who has a high sense of responsibility should remind him of his past achievements in such situations, that is, the child already has a sense of responsibility.”.

Üsküdar News Agency (ÜNA)