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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Youth and interpersonal conflicts

18:13) "We relate to thee their story in truth: they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We advanced them in guidance:" (18:14) "We gave strength to their hearts: Behold, they stood up and said: "Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and of the earth: never shall we call upon any god other than Him: if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity!"

Youth and interpersonal conflicts
Interpersonal conflict,i.e.,a conflict between individuals, is of a great concern today.The reason of such attention is due to the rise of violence among youth as the consequence to the conflicts. Here we are trying to examine the precursors and correlated of youth violence and possible ways to deal with it. Youth violence is a complex problem, and prevention efforts must be multifaceted and creative if they are to have a strong impact.

Why youth?
Youth is a valuable asset to the country. At this particular stage of life, they are having what some may say as the most critical time of their growing years where their nafs as well as their conscience having a fight, causing a great inner turmoil inside them. Their young creative mind combine with their youthful energy that they posses always produce a good outcome. Still, more than they should realize and contrary to their own believe of"freedom"and "independence", they need guidance or support from others as well.
Young people need caring adults to be actively involved in their lives. They need help with homework, technology, arts, recreation, and character development. Sometimes they just need a caring adult to take the time to listen to what's on their mind and model responsible behaviour. And this is where adults especially parents should play their roles. Parents should take this opportunity to introduce to them the beauty of Islam, show them how the religion can help them to overcome their problems, or relate to them the stories of the prophets and other muslim figures as examples.
What is interpersonal conflict?
Life is getting more and more challenging. Young people have already experiencing adult-size problems. Conflict is a part of most interpersonal relationship. Managing conflict,then, is important if the relationship is to be long-lasting and rewarding such as that between a child and his/her family. Learn how to manage the conflict in relationships and then complete the activity.
Conflict has been defined as:
"an expressedstruggle between at least two interdependent parties who
perceive incompatible goals, scarce resources, and interference from the other party in achieving their goals".
Important conceptin this definition includes "expressed struggle" which means the two sides must communicate about the problem for there to be a conflict. Another important idea is that conflict often involves perceptions. The two sides may only perceive that their goals, resources, and interference is incompatible with each other's.
Conflicts can appear because of difference in interests, desires, values or by scarce resources such as time, space, job or family position; or can reflect a rivality when a person is trying to be outstanding or is trying to disallow another person.
Our major interest here is that all of these interpersonal conflicts the youth are facing would develope into something bigger, something that would bring harm not only to themselves but also to the society. More than often violence would take place as a result to these turbulence in them.
Studies has proven that such negative behaviour would ruin them, destructing the youth's future as well as current well being; predicting future problems ranging from that of school achievement, juvenile delinquency to employment, marriage life,and general health.
The world remains a threatening, often dangerous place for children and youths. And the greatest threat to the lives of children and adolescents is not disease or starvation or abandonment, but the terrible reality of violence, something which should not be associated with the lives of these innocent souls.

Why does it happen?

Interpersonal conflicts may occur due to a lot of causes. Among them are...

poverty
racism
unemployment
substance abuse
easy access to weapons
inadequate or abusive parenting practices
frequent exposure to violence through the media
prejudice
family dysfunction, divorce
learning disabilities, low IQ, poor academic achievement
inability to control anger
lack of communication skills
lack of empathy
sense of insecurity
gangs
are some of the things that are highly likely to be responsible for the increase in violent behaviour in young people. In addition, they are getting huge amounts of data that are uncensored and not monitored by adults.
Some believe that the collision between raging hormones and the urge to be"unique" and "individual" and to have their "freedom" has been the culprit of such behaviour which, unfortunately, often resulted to earning themselves a bad name. Too many youth today practice behaviours that place them at risk for serious injuries, sexually transmitted diseases(STD), other preventable health problems and even premature death.
This piece of literature here is not to condemn not to punish the troubled youth but more about to find and understand the reason(s) of their behaviour for we believe in the importance of youth in the society.

If we are to reach real peace in this world...we shall have to begin with the children.; --Mahatma Gandhi--

How does it start?
People holds different expectations about what is important, what is to be valued, and how we should behave. Some people take all of these lightly and there are some who take it very seriously. This particular group of people let others control them by putting the unnecessary (not to say unIslamic) standard for them to follow.
Most of the time the conflict arises when there is pressure among the youth to follow others of whom they believe are worth followed and idolized. It is most unfortunate that the things or people that they followed are that of the negative western cultures (thanks to the Hollywood so-called superstars). Somehow they have this notion that to live like the western people is the right way of living.
When the pressure to be what they wanted to be clashes with reality (facts pertaining to cultures and religious concerns) would result to the enormous anger and dissaticfaction in them. This should not take place in the first place.
The one thing that anger is good at is to create chaos and anything in between. Anger is not the way to vent out one's emotion. There is no need to smash everything that is within one's reach and to rehearse using the foulest of language to everyone you meet.NO. That is not the way, in fact, it would only bring on more problem rather than solving it.

Why is anger?
Allah wants Muslims to restrain themselves during their rage and replace it with love and benevolence.Fearing Allah also works in this field, providing similar motives and leaving similar effects. Anger is a human reaction, which is normally combined or followed by heated blood and flight of temper. It is both natural and essential to man. It can, however, be overcome only through that higher perception made possible by the positive effects of fearing Allah and the spiritual strength which man achieves through looking up to horizons which are far more superior and sublime than man’s own needs and interests.
Restraining anger is only the first stage, which is not sufficient by itself. A person may restrain his anger, but harbours a grudge. His outward fury becomes a deeply seated, inward rancour. It is needless to say that anger and fury are cleaner and more preferable feelings than grudge and rancour. The Qur’anic verse emphasizes that the God-fearing do not allow their anger to become a grudge. They forgive others and do not harbour any ill feelings. When anger is deliberately restrained, it becomes a burden, a fire that burns internally sending its smoke over man’s conscience in order to blur its vision. Forgiveness, however, ensures release from that burden, gives peace of heart and conscience as well as an easy movement in a more sublime world.

The solution
Our communication with others is central to us leading towards a healthy fulfilling lives. The meetings and interactions we have with people not only provide us with the necessary physical resources for living such as food, water, and shelter, but also nourish our social well-being. Parents, teachers, co-workers, classmates, and friends provide the necessary encouragement and support to build our self-esteem and help us develop strong personal and working relationships with others. Without the help of others, it would be difficult to sustain our growth and development in our intellectual, physical, social, and spiritual lives.
Schools and college students are routinely exposed in their classroom to new information and opinions, hence they tend to be more receptive to new beliefs and ideas. Learning institutions are therefore fertile grounds where the seeds of Islam can be sowed inside the hearts of non-Muslim students. Muslim students should take ample advantage of this opportunity and expose their schoolmates to the beautiful beliefs of Islam.
Communities do better when young people are engaged in enriching, supervised activities after-school, especially between the hours of 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. That's when juvenile crime triples, when more teenagers become pregnant, it is the time when there is more gang-related activity, and when young people abuse alcohol and other drugs. The after-school hours are the most dangerous for young people because of the lack of supervision.
Youth who participate in after-school activities demonstrate enhanced interpersonal relationships, ability to handle conflicts, and improved self-confidence. Youth also demonstrate better achievement in math, reading, and other core academic subjects.
Often, people whose anger erupts in violence are unable to talk about their feelings and lack the skills to resolve interpersonal conflicts peaceably. Such deficits may leave them especially vulnerable to media messages that encourage using violence to settle disagreements. It's not surprising that 41% of respondents in the Harvard survey agreed with the statement "If I am challenged, I am going to fight."
Guns and other weapons are easily available, and young people don't have a good sense of the consequences of their actions. So, they may think that an easy way to win an argument is to threaten opponents, which can lead to accidental injury or death, or even to the intentional use of a weapon. Youth who learn to solve problems fairly and nonviolently are respected by others, make friends more easily, and become role models for others.
Youth who use violence may die young or spend their lives in prison.
In communities where youth witness a great deal of violence, they may grow up thinking that using violence is the best or only way to end a disagreement, unless they are shown other equally effective methods.
Think beforehand what the consequences of different actions will be: anger and violence versus walking away from a dispute or compromise.
Use humor to cool hostility.
Never fight with anyone using drugs or alcohol, or likely to have a weapon.
Get as much information about a disagreement as possible, to help solve it and to head off feelings of uncontrollable anger.
Try to think of solutions to a dispute that will give both sides something, and try to understand an opponent's point of view.
Show respect for an opponent's rights and position
Don't make bias against an opponent's race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation as a reason for a dispute. Show character by rejecting the bait for a fight, or accepting a compromise to a dispute, rather than responding with violence.
Don't coerce a partner or be violent in a relationship; this behavior causes distance, loss of respect and love, and feelings of fear and guilt, in addition to the more obvious consequences of physical harm to the victim and arrest of the abuser.
Show that people like and respect nonviolent problem-solvers more than bullies, and be a nonviolent problem-solver yourself.

Moreover...

Communication between parents and children strengthens family bonds and is crucial in helping children understand and coping with their frustrations. But when children become teenagers, there is less willingness on their part to open up to their parents. At around age 13 they begin to pull back, become more independent, and talk less, creating a communications gap that can cause parents to feel frustrated, especially parents who find it uncomfortable to talk to their children about family conflicts. Yet parents need to know what's going on with their children, and they need to make sure their children know that they are always available to talk to. Where youth violence is concerned, the effectiveness of a parent's communication skills can mean the difference between life and death.
Enduring solutions must include efforts to help young people at risk develop a high regard for human life — to help them develope a strong moral character. Again, using the public-health model, there are three approaches to violence prevention:
1. Primary violence prevention — making nonviolence popular: teaching and encouraging nonviolent problem solving; redefining the “hero” and role models (through peer leadership and mediation; mass media messages, classroom education and community training programs)
2.Secondary violence prevention — counseling victims and “at-risk” youth: Mentoring programs; special counseling for children who have witnessed violent incidents; “in-school” suspension; “first offender” programs
3.Tertiary violence prevention — punishing and correcting violent behavior: Arrest, prosecution and incarceration.

And whatever the Messenger gives you, take it, and whatever he forbids you , leave it. And fear Allah: truly Allah is severe in punishment. " [Qur'an 59:7]#message #supertext {xposition:absolute;left:0;top:0;visibility:hide;visibility:hidden;}/* Bouncy message script- By Dynamicdrive.com Code based on Lloyd Hassell's, at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/dynamicindex4/bounceimage.htm For full source, TOS, and 100s DTHML scripts, visit http://dynamicdrive.com */ //Configure the below three variables //1) Set message to display (HTML accepted) var thecontent='

And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths(29:69)

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