Adolescence is a period in your child’s life when your kid transitions into his adulthood phase. You have cheerfully lived through the late night feedings, patiently dealt with toddler tantrums, and uncomplainingly tolerated your child’s school blues. Now that your little bundle of joy is in his teen years, why is it making you anxious? True, teenage is a challenging phase for both children and parents. But teen parenting is all about handling things patiently and closely observing your adolescent child, who is slowly recognizing his new identity.
Your Guide to Surviving Teen Years as a Parent
So now that your child has turned an adolescent, you have got to be prepared to patiently deal with his risky behavior. Your teen may tell you something but act differently altogether, driving you nuts at many times. Sometimes it is natural to feel trapped between fear and anger. But you have got to understand it is that phase when your child starts his self-identification journey. It is the journey of his search for self, in which he may become emotionally near-sighted.
You want your child to be appreciative of what he has, but teenage is a period when a child steps into the real world and starts making comparisons. He will have a lot of complaints, disagreements, and negative perceptions about your notions.
There would be times when he will not show respect and be unwilling to renounce his risky behavioral antics.
But you should not lose heart. Rather, appreciate the fact that teenage is a learning period in your child’s life. This is one such period when he will try to challenge your notions, crave for adventure, try to be self-dependent, and start keeping secrets.
It is natural that there will be some tension between you and your child. While parents are overly possessive and protective of their kids, teenagers only want to think of themselves and their desires.
The idea is to keep yourself watchful and attentive. As a parent, you can model this behavior in your teenager.
While adventure looks risky to you, it is no less than an entertaining challenge for your teen. In order to survive teen years, you should teach your child how to explore options, make a risk assessment, and think critically.
The Onset of Adolescence and Teen Parenting
If you notice any change in your child’s behavior toward you, it should not come as a surprise. Many children announce the onset of adolescence with this change in behavior and start to separate from parents, being continually at odds with them. Perhaps, this is the phase when they are trying to become more independent and desperately trying to fit into different looks and identities to impress peers. Yes, this is the period when they start to give more importance to peers often than parents when it comes to making decisions.
As teen years go by and your teenager becomes mature, he starts thinking more rationally while setting his own moral code. You should not be surprised if your teen who had previously been willing to conform to you suddenly begins asserting himself, even rebelling against your control.
Adolescence: The Transitional Phase for a Parent
Adolescence is as much a transitional time for a parent as it is for a child. It can be a tumultuous phase. But all it takes to make the transition smooth is patience and understanding on the part of parents. As a parent, you should have the willingness to modify your parenting style so that your teenager does not see you as exercising too much control over each of his or her activities.
Teen Parenting Tip 1: Don’t Treat Your Teenager Like a Toddler
If you continue to be the same parent that you were to your toddler, your child’s teen years could become a frustrating journey for both of you. In a few years, your child should be on his own. As a parent, your job is to prepare him for the future, without the need for constant supervision. Now the transition should be from an authoritarian parent to an adviser.
When you give your young adult the freedom to make choices, you have got to accept that he will make mistakes. Do not overreact when he does commit mistakes. These are learning opportunities for your adolescent, and it is up to you to offer constant moral support during this phase.
Teen Parenting Tip 2: Pick Your Battles
Freedom for a teen should come with checks and balances. When it comes to allowing your teen freedom, know that you have an obligation, so enforce rules and set limits, voice your opinions, express your disapproval, and being consistent with consequences. All that your child learns during the teen years will help him become a responsible adult.
Surviving Teen Parenting Tip 3: Talk to Your Teenager
It is a good sign if your child starts a conversation on your disapproval of something. This is a sign that he wants to keep the communication lines open and maintain a healthy relationship with you. It is a good idea to acknowledge their initiative to engage in a conversation. Then politely talk about your disapproval of certain behavior.
Surviving Teen Years
If raising a baby through infancy is no easy task, then teen years are no less tumultuous either. In fact, a teenager’s life is full of expectations, broken promises, self-realization, and experimentation. Give your teenager some space to breathe freely so that he does not feel like your shadow, but an offspring who has a responsibility to show respect toward his parents. Share your family values with your adolescent child while gently talking about what is right and wrong.
Any inappropriate or risky teen behavior that lasts for over6 weeks must be addressed properly. It may be a sign of underlying trouble. So, it is a good idea to involve a local counselor, doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist to help your teenager overcome their self-imposed challenges and progress through their teen years.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com