While we have read about all the hormonal and emotional changes that a teenager undergoes, having one in the house is not easy. It is tough to be sane and reasonable when everything you say is being taken in the opposite sense. Similarly the usual laid back, happy kid when suddenly becomes reserved and aloof it is tough to guess the reasons. Welcome to the teen years! You have always heard about the horrible Teen years but never experienced much! Now you are dreading what lies ahead of you as your kid is officially turning a teen.
What are teen years?
Typically teen years are from 13-19 years. However as teen age and adolescent age overlap, there are a lot of pointers here that will be useful for adolescents as well. Adolescent is the age when the children undergo physical and emotional changes and this can start since they are 8 years old.
However, as we are focusing on teen years, let’s look at some tips that will help you survive those teen years:
Knowing helps treading these teen years easier. Read up about teens and their developing years. Think back to your own teen years and your typical struggles with accepting your body and trying to fit in the group. Today we have access to the world at our fingertips with smart phones. Use this to understand the kind of problems the teens of today face. Such knowledge will definitely help you relate to their struggles better and respond in a positive way.
Put yourself in their shoes
This is the time when a child is trying to find his individuality and is rebellious against the set norms. Think back and talk about your struggles. Try and be in their position when they come with their seemingly huge issues. Thinking about your time when you struggled with acne will make you sympathetic toward your child’s fetish with skin creams. Such empathy will go a long way in keeping the communication channels open.
Communication is the key and it should start even before the kids hit adolescence. This will ensure that there is a strong foundation of trust. Communicate regularly with them about their feelings. They are kids who are stuck in the confusing years before adulthood. It is tough for them to completely understand and comprehend their feelings. They might also be battling compound issues like body image, bullying, peer pressure and gaming addictions. They are looking for a secure place to talk about their fears, worries and small achievements. They will long for love and bear hugs once in a while. Assure them that you are there to help them navigate these confusing years.
Reason and Explain
All said and done, when tempers flare and heated words are exchanged, it is tough to maintain patience. It is okay to lose your cool Parents! After all you are only human. However, after the dust has settled, it is important to reason and explain your position. This will help give Teens a different perspective. It will also improve their belief in you and your intensions.
Let them Choose
This is the time when teens are trying to stress their individuality. Your command to do a certain thing in a certain way, might not go down well. Ask them how they plan to finish a task. Let them know you are there to help them, but give them a free hand in choosing the way. It could also be about choosing things like their careers, or hobbies. Reason and explain your advice but eventually let them choose. This will make them realize that their decisions have consequences and they will be ready to accept that.
Hand them responsibilities
Hand them small responsibilities in the home. Share tasks, ask them to take up responsibilities like writing accounts, folding laundry, maybe cutting veggies or making some quick snacks. Doing chores in the house will make them feel responsible and a contributing adult in the house. It is also a great time to communicate and bond with family members.
Be their Cheerleader
In the desperation to fit in, the teens might be confused about doing something that is not in their comfort zones. Regular communication will help you understand such situations. Be their biggest cheerleader if they choose something that is not a popular choice. They need to know that it is their happiness that matters the most to you and not the latest fad. It will also give the teens, the confidence required to stick to things they like rather than following the crowd.
Monitor what they see and read
In today’s day and age when anything and everything can be accessed online, it is important to monitor what they see and read. Apart from stumbling on something inappropriate, they could also be exposed to the evils of internet without your knowledge. Always have an open conversation about why you need to monitor and when the teen should come to you for help. This will help protect your teen against major issues like online bullying, trolls, cyber-crime etc.
Respect their Privacy
While it is important to monitor their online activities, it is equally important to respect their privacy. So while it is good to keep privacy settings at high and use apps like family link, stalking them online or butting into their online conversations with friends is a complete no-no.
Do you have some more tips to share about handling Teens? Have you tried something that has helped you improve your communication with your teen? Share away in comments below. We look forward to these interesting anecdotes.