Teenage or adolescence is a complex period of life when children undergo many changes at the same time. Coping with this developmental stage can be very challenging for teenagers and their parents. The rapid physical and emotional changes of adolescence can be both exciting and confusing. The changes in your body, strong emotional outbursts, mood swings, anxiety, the onset of puberty, and the pressures of academics and peers can be overwhelming. Parents usually experience conflict with their children while trying to reach out and help, but it is difficult to trust and rely on their children’s opinions, and teenagers feel that no one understands their situation and doesn’t ask their parents for help. At this point, teenagers are figuring out who they are and what their worth is in this life, trying to create their identity and their selves and tend to push their parents in the need of more freedom to make their own decisions. Don’t force your kids too much, but also don’t give them the chance to exploit their freedom and get harmed. Keep a fine balance. The following tips will help you find that balance and always do what’s best for your child.
- Set boundaries and realistic expectations: Teenagers need clear boundaries and rules to navigate the world. Set and consistently enforce limits on things like driving, screen time, and social media usage. Make sure they are aware of the consequences of breaking rules and follow them.They also need to know that these rules are helpful for their growth and provide a solid foundation for their future. It’s also important to set realistic expectations about teen’s behavior, academic performance, and responsibilities. Avoid putting too much pressure on them to be perfect, and celebrate their successes along the way. Give them space for failure without depriving them of your love and care. Never compare them to their peers. Nurture their own qualities. This is the time when advises are taken as criticism, so try to show them the real world without being harsh on them. Instead of telling them what to do, show them how their actions affect their present and the surroundings. Don’t impose your ideas on them and let them make their own decisions based on reality, but be part of acknowledging them and proposing your suggestions.
- Teach them the importance of relationships- Friendships are more important than any other relationship for every teenager. They rely more on their friends than on their family. Teach them how to foster a friendship with equality and care. Make them understand how friendship is not about being interdependent but about being independent and self reliant to have good friends in life. Also tell them about the value of different relationships. At this age, they should learn how to handle relationships with responsibility, love and kindness. Often, teenagers can become dramatic and overly emotional in unnecessary relationships. Support them through this period and show them how to get out of a relationship that might hurt them later. Instill the believe that they are important on their own and need not change themselves to fit into a relationship. Guide your children to form valuable friendships with a variety of children. Teach them the value of respect in a relationship whether it is with their teachers, friends, family members or parents. Discuss how to calmly handle all kinds of relationship situations and to avoid relationship insecurities.
- Be a role model and encourage open communication- Your actions have a greater impact on your child than your words. Therefore to enforce healthy habits like sleeping on time, limiting screen time, eating on time, exercising, decision making, problem solving be their role model by practicing all these on daily basis. You can’t expect your children to do things you don’t do. Teenagers do what they see. Always encourage open communication. Teenagers are generally reluctant to share many aspects of their lives as they themselves are discovering the real person. If your child doesn’t communicate openly it is your responsibility to know important things about their life. Listen attentively to your kids without any judgement or solving their problems, many a times they just want to be heard. To communicate with them learn their language, their ways, make the conversations light hearted. Open communication only bridges the generational gap between you and your child. Choose a new topic each week, talk openly about it, watch your child talk, learn to read non-verbal communication, and make them as comfortable as possible without compromising on your values and principles. Invite their friends and communicate with them as well to understand how your child is adjusting in life.
Parenting is a lifetime journey and requires proper planning and involvement at this stage. Remember that you are the core your children need the most to develop themselves as successful and compassionate individuals. You also have to change and adapt along with your children to nurture them properly. During this journey, be patient with yourself and with your children and allow them the freedom to choose their life path and support and empower their independent growth.