One of the biggest challenges in parenting is dealing with teens. And, parents can face the challenge better if they realise that their teen still needs them.
By Suchitra Seethapathy
One evening, Renee, an exemplary Grade 11 student experiences a sudden meltdown triggered by a silly argument. What ensues is a verbal screaming match with her mother. The heated argument ends with the slamming of doors and a loud declaration by Renee to her mother, “I hate you!”
Being an only child of loving parents, Renee lacked for nothing. She went to the best of schools and her mom ensured that her schedule included a lot of fun-filled after-school activities. The family even took frequent trips to exotic holiday destinations. What used to be a close-knit mother-daughter bond is now pathetically strained with a few grunts here and there, which constitutes the daily conversation. How did it all come to this? Well, the reason was ‘the emotional snap’. Let’s see what we mean by this.
It is widely believed that once children are capable of doing their daily activities independently, they no longer require the support of their parents. When teens, especially, seem too precocious with a lot of strong-headed ideas and ideals, parents aren’t really worried about ‘taking care’ of them. Also, during the early years of their children, parents cherish a healthy bond with them. But, once the children hit the teens, parents seem to focus more on their academics and career path. As a result, many forget to foster the emotional bond. This leads to an ‘emotional snap’ causing the loving parent-child relationship to turn into a nightmarish boss-employee relationship.
This is exactly what had happened in the case of Renee. And, so too is it in most homes where children enter the phase of adolescence. So, what is the solution? To bridge the emotional gap and, at the same time, give teens their personal space to grow and develop into individuals with their own unique identity. For this, parents need to realise that their teenager still needs them. And, to understand why teens still need their parents, we need an insight into their adolescent mind. The following points will help in this.
Teenagers learn best from healthy parent-child relationships and a conducive home environment. Let your home be a place of good understanding and communication. Having regular small talk without it being too preachy and stifling will bring down the ‘wall of defense’ that most teenagers seem to have around them. Teenagers are on an emotional and a physical roller-coaster ride. Rather than trying to fit them into a pre-made mould, understand and accept them. Get on that roller coaster and help them enjoy their ride!
The author is a psychologist, public speaker and special needs consultant.
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