Parenting Teenagers: Opportunity or Challenge?

Parenting Teenagers

What is it about parenting that engages most people so deeply? Love is the most important part of the answer but it isn’t the complete answer. There is another side to the story that one may not understand easily. Parenting satisfies a person’s ego like few other things could.

Here is a helpless and vulnerable little human being you can influence and mold into whatever you want him to be. The fascinating potential of the job charms many and the sense of power it brings hooks a lot of parents deeply.

This articles tries to explore the fascinating relationship between a parent and a teenager with references to mother and teenage son. The same advice for parenting teenagers holds true regardless of the gender.

The Turning Point

Trouble starts if or when your child deviates from whatever image or plan you have in mind for him. Is it any wonder then that most parent-child relationships turn sour when the child wishes to come into his own, usually at the time he becomes a teenager.

The more conservative or controlling a parent (example: mother), the more scared she will be regarding the child’s teenage years since that is the time he will adopt new role-models: actors, rock stars, sports heroes, and acquire the qualities he has been attracted to. The parent struggles to retain her position in the child’s psychology since this change threatens her ego and sense of control.

Most of our values, beliefs and attitudes are usually passed on from our parents and their ancestors. These form the basis of our lives and are quite dear to us since our lives are expressions of these very values and beliefs.

We put in great effort to pass these on to our children so we get a sense of validation about the base on which we have spent our entire life. When our children question or rebel against these values, attitudes and beliefs, we have a sense of great discomfort and that is when the sourness in the relationship sets in.

The Better Strategy

Refusing to communicate with an open attitude to your teenage child and maintaining a dictatorial approach with your teenage child will soon make you a person your child will either fear or detest.

When parenting teenagers keep your ego out of the relationship and let go of the belief that the child is your property and has to do as you wish. As we all know, children, especially teenagers, will find ways of doing what they please when you’re not around so your teenager will do as he pleases this way or that way.

Put your point of view across with love and respect and explain everything you think, clearly. At the same time, just like you would with a friend, listen to your child’s point of view with attention and have a thorough discussion about the point of difference.

While parenting teenagers it is extremely important to build and maintain a comfortable, friendly and close relationship with your child so he will communicate genuinely with you.

Even if he does not subscribe to your way of thinking or doing things, it is important for both of you to keep the dynamics of the relationship positive.

That makes your guidance and opinions related to other things (besides the one you disagree about) somewhat acceptable to your teenager. If the precious relationship dynamic turns sour, you stand the risk of losing all control over your teenage child which could land him up in trouble.

A Liberal Choice

Sandeep was a father of two beautiful teenage girls and he was a worried man. His daughters knew how conservative he was and they maintained their distance from him.

Whenever they wanted to go to a party or go out with friends, they would think up a lie that would be acceptable to him and then do as they please.

Though Sandeep didn’t understand this pattern at first, he figured it out when the lies became repetitive in nature. He felt deeply hurt that his beloved daughters made a fool of him on a regular basis.

He analyzed what he had done wrong and decided to have an open chat with them about parties and going out at nights. At first, the girls were quite hesitant in talking to him openly, but sensing a positive change in his attitude towards them, they also shared information more openly.

He shared his fears with them and asked them to introduce their friends to him so he would feel more comfortable about their whereabouts and company. His daughters were extremely happy and did as he asked them to since they also did not enjoy lying on a regular basis. Mutually, they struck a deal and agreed never to lie to each other since they only had each others’ best interest at heart.

Final thoughts on parenting teenagers

Kahlil Gibran expressed these thoughts in one of his works: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

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About the Author

Richa is a writer and a life skills coach with seven years of work experience in training corporate professionals. She has trained employees in Soft skills, Sales and Business English.

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