For three years now, the Association XY has been successfully implementing the “XY Parental Advisor” project through the digital platform of the same name.
It provides information and support to parents of teenagers and children of all ages. The platform contains a large number of articles, short texts and educational images that address topics related to psychophysical and social aspects of growth and development (separation, puberty, sexual development, relationships with peers, etc.), the changes they bring, and ways of healthy communication and approaching possible problems. Also, in addition to the above areas, current events and happenings are what “XY Parental Advisor” informs its users about, trying to provide as much quality information. Thus, from the very beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, the platform offered instructions and advice with an emphasis on preserving mental health during lockdown, organization and ways of fulfilling obligations, but also creative solutions for children, teenagers and parents regarding learning and free time. These activities fit into the mission of the regional initiative – Young Men Imitative, which aims to promote healthier lifestyles among youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina by challenging gender stereotypes.
As before, users were able to search for questions, advice and support with a private message on the platform, via the indicated e-mail address and telephone numbers. What we would like to point out is the possibility of conducting public discussions, mutual consultation, support, information and sharing own examples. Since the psychological counseling center was closed during the pandemic in terms of physical presence, the XY Parental Advisor team was available via Skype and Viber applications and its services are, as always, free.
The users of services, in addition to parents, are children and young people and the most common topics related to counseling are:
encounter with an unknown, new and threatening situation; feeling unable to control basic daily obligations; helplessness, anxiety and depression; sleep and eating disorders; psychosomatic disorders; organization of time and obligations; balancing between them; care for other family members; dealing with unpleasant own emotions such as irritability, fear, anxiety and anger but also the emotions of other household members; partnership relations; new roles that everyone has encountered; concern for socioeconomic aspects (job loss), hopelessness, regression (younger children); apathy; care for parents and elderly family members; the need for their own space and socializing with peers; disinterest in school curriculum;
During this way of counseling, they encountered a number of advantages, but also disadvantages. The Association XY states: accessibility especially in the quarantine situation, easier organization of appointments and greater time availability of team members, possibility of written expression, possibility of anonymous reporting especially on topics that cause shame, lack of fear of stigmatization (e.g. young men with anxiety symptoms reported for psychological counseling, more precisely panic attacks that they have had for a long time before the COVID 19 epidemic, because in this way they avoided the possibility of meeting people they knew during a visit to a psychologist and thus “condemnation of the environment” for not being strong enough).
In this way, it is easier for parents and young people to talk about “taboo topics” that cause them discomfort, such as, for example sexuality. The shortcomings they encountered were: lack of human contact and interaction, inability to follow non-verbal and verbal signs (especially when it comes to written communication).
XY Parental Advisor will continue to provide its services adapting to all the challenges ahead and taking into account the needs of our clients. The emergency situation has shown the ability to adapt to different working conditions, such as the creativity and capacity of our professional team in charge of carrying out all activities. The ultimate goal of XY Parental Advisor is to inform, alleviate any existing difficulties and the growth and development of clients.