How to Parent a Teenager
Teenage is a transition period from childhood to adulthood. Teenagers undergo physical, psychological and emotional changes during this stage. Though outwardly they project a sense of maturity, internally they remain confused.
On trivial matters, they get aggressive and irritated with their parent’s interference. Parenting a teenager is a tough job. So how to parent a teenager? Hopefully these tips will help.
A mother plays a central role
Psychologically teenagers are vulnerable – hence their mother needs to be more sensitive and open towards them. Teenagers look for space and want respect for their decisions.
Anyone intruding in their domain might not be appreciated–even a parent. They feel stressed and sometimes unable to express their frustration. A mother needs to respect this and also explain this behavior to the other members of the family.
It is important to understand that–at this stage–teens struggle to establish their identity. So as parents you need to give them time to overcome this phase.
Parenting a teenager takes patience. Make them understand that physical and emotional changes are part of a normal growth towards adulthood and there is nothing to stress about.
Teenagers search for a ‘compatible’ companion
Teenagers look for friends with whom they feel comfortable and can easily confide. They prefer to consult their peers not their parents. Emotionally they struggle to gain acceptance within the family.
They expect parents to understand that they are growing mentally and can handle the complexities of life. They feel comfortable and at ease discussing issues with friends.
Simultaneously, they might secretly start behaving like their role models or get attracted to their teachers. They cannot differentiate between right and wrong.
Sometimes they get trapped in the wrong company. To compete with friends they make unreasonable demands and when not fulfilled they behave cynically or aggressively.
Parents should use a lot of self-control and implement strategies before reprimanding their child’s actions.
Pressure of studies disturbs teenagers
The higher the level (grade) of studies, the greater the pressure. On top of that, they are caught between the complex emotions of presenting their best. Any downfall disturbs them and if not managed properly could make them an introvert.
My daughter was in ninth grade. Up to eighth grade she was very good at her studies. Shortly thereafter, I realized that she was confined to herself , and enjoyed isolation. On inquiring, I couldn’t get a satisfactory answer and sensed that something was bothering her.
On discretely searching her notebooks and diary, I found out that she was having a tough time with science but was not able to express it. I got her to attend a class from a very good science lecturer. She mastered the subject, scored a high grade and was very happy.
Teenagers turn towards social networking
Busy schedules of parents and extensive exposure to social media are creating a gap between teenagers and parents. Teenagers spend time chatting, gaming, browsing, video blogging and posting their profiles online. Most of the social networking sites are open to all, which means teens can get exposed to unsolicited content that could put them into trouble.
Harassment, emotional torture, and the use of foul language are increasing on these online platforms. Teens are constantly comparing themselves not just with peers, but at a global level which is adding to the identity crisis. A fourteen-year-old posted this on a blog:
“I feel sad, depressed, jealous when I don’t get a “likes” on my Facebook photo OR when someone else gets way more “likes” than me”.
Honestly, I am not sure that parents realize how drastically it affects their self image and confidence.”
Read more at: Keep your children safe from social networking sites
Know your child – To safeguard your teen
To safeguard your teen from all these, it is important for parents to look at their kid’s profile and postings. Through this, parents will come to know about their teen’s personality and interest, how they act and interact with their friends.
Any potential problem that your child might be facing, including sexual behavior or violence can also surface. Spend quality time with them and encourage positive use of the internet. Take time out from your busy schedule and communicate regularly to build a successful relationship.
Encourage them to talk–to understand their feelings about certain situations. At age 4 you could not get them to stop talking, at age 16 you cannot get them to talk.
Conclusion: How to parent a teenager
Parenting a teenager is not easy. Find ways to understand their problems and give your open support to solve them. Bridge the gap so that they trust you and come to you for help or advice.