Coping with your teenager, how easy?

Coping with your teenager, how easy?
Coping with your teenager, how easy?

Many parents see teenage years as a difficult phase to deal with because of different behavioural challenges exhibited by their teens who believe they are old enough to take some decisions.

The teenage years can be an emotional assault course for all concerned if not properly handled by parents or guardians. Psychologists reveal that the reasons many parents find it difficult in relating with their teens is that it is a time of rapid physical development and deep emotional changes. These are exciting, but can also be confusing and uncomfortable for a child and parent alike.

A teenager, or teen, is a person who falls within the ages of 13 to 19 and adolescence is the name for this transition period from childhood to adulthood.

16 years old Daniel believes he is now old enough to choose his haircut rather than continuing with the low cut his father used to tell their barber to give him whenever they went to the salon. He also stops the mother from compelling him to pick certain wears at the boutique when they go for shopping, saying that he wants the jeans, shirts and foot wears that are in vogue, these the parents do not find funny.

Research reveals that as teenagers make the transition to adulthood, they seek independence from parents and sample various identities. Adolescents also experience rapid-fire developmental and hormonal changes that can give rise to strong emotions and irrational behaviour. Taken together, such factors explain much of the moodiness and alienation that teenagers display. And it’s no coincidence that this evolution generates all sorts of tension at home.

A parenting coach, Mrs Oluwatoyin Ogunkanmi, in her book titled, “Smart Parenting”, said when working with teens, we have to remember that there are reasons teens act the way they do and understand how to maximise the positive aspects of these major adolescent characteristics.

She said parents must learn how to connect with their children at any stage of their development, adding that you cannot be an effective parent if you do not, first, connect with your child on an emotional level?

Connecting involves loving your child and showing and telling the child how much you love them by being emotionally present in their lives when you are with them, and let them know you are not just physically available but emotionally ready.

The co-author of How to Talk to Teens, Adele Faber, said many of us assume that our sweet teenagers are destined to turn into a moody and rebellious teenager. “Our expectations are formed from the time they are born, but we have to enjoy them now, while they’re young because we are told, ‘little children, little problems; big children, big problems.’’

He said it is true that raising adolescents presents some challenges but that is not the whole picture. “If parents understand what teens are experiencing and set aside some of their fears and stereotypes, their relationship with their emerging young adults can be joyful and rewarding’’.

A Clinical Psychologist, Anthony Wolf, also said children of all ages feel attached to, and dependent on their parents, once they get to a certain age, however, it’s no longer acceptable for them to think of themselves as dependent little children.

Wolf urges parents to set and enforce limits while accepting that most normal teens, in their struggle for independence, will sometimes break the rules.

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