Click on the play button above to listen to the full interview with Ron Prasad.
Connection Matters Radio (CMR): Last Monday on Connection Matters Radio, we spoke once again with Ron Prasad. Ron, who is the CEO and co-founder of the Beat Bullying with Confidence Foundation, life coach, counsellor, author, highly sought-after public speaker…the list goes on.
We spoke then about what the Premier had said just a day or so beforehand about the path out of COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria and Melbourne. Our intent was, of course, to respond to some of the questions that had come in from you, our listeners, specifically to Ron; and we’re going to be addressing some of those today. Ron, thanks again for coming back onto Connection Matters Radio.
Ron Prasad: Thank you, Uncle Charles. It’s a pleasure to be back.
CMR: Ron, we’re going to dive straight into it, my friend, and the first one – I’m not going to give names and I’m just going to paraphrase the questions – is from a single mother who’s in her forties. She has a 15-year old son and a 13-year old daughter.
Ron, the question is around unmasking your feelings. Now this was the first topic of conversation that we dealt with here on Connection Matters Radio, and she’s very concerned because she believes that her children are masking their feelings, but she doesn’t know how to connect with them, to encourage them to be open about what’s going on inside.
Ron: Uncle Charles, first thing I want to do is thank this listener of ours for reaching out because it takes courage to bring something like this and have it discussed on air. So my suggestion to this listener would be that the first thing you do is to lead by example.
Now your kids are teenagers. To some extent, they will try and model your behavior so lead by example, tell them how you are feeling without overwhelming them, or don’t do something that’s going to burden them emotionally, but tell them, just say, “Mommy had a rough day at work. That’s why she went for a walk. And how was your day?”
Tell them emphatically, “It’s okay to be not okay.” Tell them, “Please tell me how you’re feeling. We are family. I understand that you’re being home-schooled at the moment. I understand you’re not seeing your friends. I understand the social interaction aspect is missing.
“So always be open to telling me how you are feeling. I’m not going to judge you. I’m not going to punish you. I am your mother, and it’s my responsibility to be there for you. Always feel free to tell me exactly how it is, and do not feel for a moment that you’re going to say things that will upset me or you’ll emotionally burden me. That’s what I’m here for. If you are not feeling okay, it’s okay to be not okay.”
CMR: I like that. And it’s a return to the good old family yarn, isn’t it?
Ron: Yes. Especially around the dinner table, they can talk openly and say, “How was your day? What happened? Did something good happen today? Did something happen that you want to talk about that perhaps I could help you with?” Especially for the younger child, I believe she’s a 13-year old daughter?
CMR: I think… just looking at my notes here, 15-year old son and a 13-year old daughter.
Ron: Right, Uncle Charles, so for the little one, perhaps you could say, “Your brother and I are here for your support.” So she’s much younger and maybe she could find some comfort in knowing that she’s got two people in her family, in her house, who can support her. The key to some of this response, Uncle Charles, the key is to keep the gates of communication open.
CMR: Summed up beautifully, Ron. Now we have one more, and this is actually from a young person in their twenties. I don’t know if it’s a male or female, but I think in this case, it doesn’t really matter. What they’ve written is that they love being at home from work. Apparently they’re full-time employed and as they said in their email, they are somewhat of an introvert and they understand and accept that. They’re actually dreading things returning to normal, and having to go back to the full-time work environment where they’re actually more comfortable at home, but they know they’re going to have to go back. So what advice do you have there for that person and other introverts; and also to the employers and team leaders?
Ron: I’m pretty sure this person’s not by themselves in feeling like this because there has to be others out there who are absolutely loving the feeling of working from home, or the freedom, should I say, of working from home. Now, introverts get their energy, most introverts actually, get their energy from being alone and not everyone, in my opinion, is a straight introvert or straight extrovert. We have tendencies of both in us, but the levels of those tendencies vary from person to person.
So my suggestion to this person would be, one, make the most out of this situation, enjoy being by yourself, and working from home and having remote meetings. Second thing is this – when this person has to go back to the office, make it a smooth transition. Start reminding yourself a bit earlier that I will have to go back to the office, I will have to attend meetings, I will have to sit next to my colleagues. And this person has to remind themselves that once they go back to the office, the first team meeting that they have, they don’t necessarily have to be the center of attention, and when people start talking to you, do your best to keep the conversation at a minimum when you start getting uncomfortable.
CMR: Now what about for employers and team leaders though, Ron? Because surely some of the onus has to be on them because they’re responsible for the welfare of their teams?
Ron: Yes, I agree with you 100%. So for business owners or team leaders or managers, please make sure that you tailor individual plans to return to work for your staff because not everyone’s going to be the same, right?
Be considerate to the actual individual’s needs. And this person who has sent the question, they are a classic example. Their team leader or manager could say, “Okay, this person’s a bit of an introvert. They don’t like talking much. They’re a bit shy at times.” So instead of asking this person in front of the whole team, “How are you going? What’s been happening?” do a one-on-one catch-up. Take this person into a boardroom and ask: “What can I do for you to make your transition back to work a bit easier?”
CMR: I only hope that people actually pay heed to those words, Ron, because quite frankly, I can foresee a great deal of disruption, personal disruption, for people who are being forced back to work too early after this enforced isolation. Ron, I do have a couple more. I’ll deal with one just quickly and we can cover off some more next Monday.
Ron, it goes back to my pet thing, or pet peeve, and that is social media, and this time it’s from… I don’t know how old this person is, they don’t say how old their child is, but their concern is that their child is spending far too much time on social media during these times, and it seems they’re coming back with some absurd and biased political views. All of a sudden they’re having a go at the Premier and the management of the state and all that, where this was never the case before, and it seems to be impacting on that young person’s mental health.
Ron: Well, the first thing I would suggest to parents is to put themselves in the child’s shoes and understand where they’re coming from. This brings me back to yesterday. My wife was talking about a nine-year old girl that she knows. The child is in front of a screen from the moment she wakes up to the moment she goes back to sleep, right? And she’s obviously being exposed to social media.
So my suggestion to this parent would be, ask yourself the question, “What is it that you can do yourself proactively to take your child away from social media? Are you spending one-on-one time with your child, and helping your child do things that they enjoy doing?” It could be cooking, knitting, sewing, painting, whatever it is.
CMR: Ron, I’m afraid that’s all we have time for today. I do have some more questions as I mentioned before, but we’ll deal with those next week, and if anybody does have questions they’d like to put to Ron, then the SMS number here at Connection Matters Radio is 0491 191 977, or send Ron your question via the Connection Matters Radio website.
Ron, until next Monday, thank you once again and I look forward to chatting with you.
Ron: Thank you, Uncle Charles. Have a nice day. Thank you.
Click on the play button below to listen to the full interview with Ron
For more information
For more information about Beat Bullying With Confidence: