Dealing with teenagers can be an arduous task as parents have to strike a fine balance between giving them freedom and reinforcing their authority.
Develop a rapport with children; explain the importance of rules
Various issues crop up when a child enters his/her teenage years. However, the key is open dialogue. Also, parents must establish a level of confidence and share good rapport with children. This can happen only through constant dialogue in every sphere. You should know what your children are doing.
The children must also be aware of what they are doing and what is expected out of them. All the dos and don’ts should be clearly laid down. If you talk to your teenaged children often, they will also realise that rules are not baseless and are for their own good. This has to be explained to them properly.
In issues like staying out late in the night, it is good to find a middle ground where both parents and children are happy. For example, parents can allow children to go out late only if they are escorted by someone.
Natasha D’Cruz, clinical psychologist
In a democratic environment, rebellion can be dealt with easily
One of the points that you must keep in mind while dealing with adolescents is that the rebellion is quite natural. Teenage is the stage where children try to develop an identity of their own, which is separate from their parents. In such a scenario, conflicts are bound to take place.
This is the time when children strive to learn about themselves for the first time at a rational level and develop at a thought level, asking questions like - Who am I? What is my purpose? In the attempt of finding their identity, there is a natural tendency to move towards friends and try to belong to a group. All this is part of the process.
Hence, parents need to be there for children, but in a different way. They must respect the emerging adults in the teenagers and listen to their points of view. They should sit and talk to children about the difficulties they face and discuss ways to handle and treat them. However, this holds true not only for teenagers. If there has always been an authoritarian relationship between parents and children, it needs to change. With a democratic environment since an early age, it would definitely be easier to navigate through the rebellious stage. In such a situation, a sense of trust and bonding is already there. Even if something goes wrong, the children feel free to talk to their parents without any hesitation. This level of trust increases with constant dialogue and listening.
Sandy Dias Andrade, clinical psychologist
Anti-social behaviour may be to get peer approval
The teenage years are a volatile period. The problems that adolescents encounter are many. Hormonal changes, social acceptance, self-consciousness, lack of interest in studies, attraction towards the opposite sex and the tendency to indulge in wrongdoing are concerns that they have to tackle. Also, at times, teenagers are unable to control their anger or the urge to imitate films and television programmes.
Hence, parents must instill values in children from a very young age. They must themselves follow what they preach because teenagers more often than not imitate them. Adolescents always seek social recognition for their activities and at times to get approval from their peers, they also engage in anti-social behaviour.
The family environment is responsible for offences due to lack of parental supervision, indiscipline, discord, divorce and so on. Parents must, thus, exercise caution and attend to their children’s needs while inspecting their daily actions.
Conflicting ideas from teachers, parents and friends confuse teenagers who are naive about the repercussions of their actions. Hence, parents should always clearly explain why certain things are right or wrong, in an understandable manner. Suicide among teenagers is on the rise; it is the duty of parents to keep a close watch on their behaviour.
Janak Aurora, businessman
Have faith in yourself and the bond you have created with them
This is a difficult and tricky issue. Parents have less control over children at this age. However, you cannot always say ‘no’ and stop your children from doing things. It also depends on the children. All the love, affection and values that you instill in them will keep them in control and prevent them from doing anything wrong. You have to keep faith in yourself, your children and on
all that you have done for them. This is what I did with
However, it is not just about teenagers. These days, many youngsters go abroad for work or study. While they are away, you have to count on their integrity. This is what will guide them through difficult situations. Trust is, thus, the most important factor here. Faith between parents and children, apart from their love and support would keep them rooted. Communication is essential, but faith on both sides comes foremost.
Asha Deshpande, family counsellor
Respect their privacy and avoid yelling at them at any cost
The teen years are tough on both parents and teenagers. Life as a parent brings with it many challenging experiences. Coming to grips with being a parent and looking after children can be exhausting, but even when you have successfully conquered the early years and your children seem well behaved, things can change drastically as they hit their teens.
It is an important time for youngsters, as they go through various key stages of development — physically, socially and emotionally — and they start to re-evaluate the people and beliefs that are important to them. Some teens sail through effortlessly without any major issues, while for others it can be tougher.
Whatever your situation and however old your teenagers are, it is essential for you to understand their needs, feelings and behaviour. For this, you must first respect them. You must also accept the fact that their friends and their life outside matters more to them than life at home. No matter how much you do for them, your teens will always think of themselves and their friends first.
However, you must also respect your children’s privacy and never invade it. Be involved, but do not pry. Always keep in mind that you must never yell at them or resort to violence. The more you yell, the more they will react. You should instead explain your feelings to them and tell them why you are worried. Sit down and have a talk with them. Remember that there are always two sides to a coin.
Meenu Pathela, parent & homemaker
Change with changing times, but remember your teen years too
First and foremost, be a friend to your children. You must remember that you had also gone through difficulties during your teen years and had faced the same situations. Parents usually tend to forget this. They must understand that it is natural for their teenaged children to go through this process of physical and emotional development.
Parents should also change with the changing times. They must talk to their children about everything that bothers them, without any apprehensions. Another option is to talk to your own friends who have experienced a similar phase; discuss problems and share views with them.
However, it is equally important to let teenagers know their limits. They should know where to draw the line when it comes to hanging out with friends, social networking or even dating. There is no harm in staying out late, but children should always inform parents and never break their trust by doing something wrong.
Preeti Gambhir, parent & homemaker
At this age, friends generally replace parents as confidantes
It is true that adolescents have to face many issues. The main reason behind this is peer pressure. At this age, they are easily influenced by their friends. The only way to deal with this is through ample communication. You must be so close to your children that they consider you a friend.
Usually, young children are looked after properly, but once they cross the age of 10, parents think they can fend for themselves. This is when parents are replaced by friends. Moreover, teenagers spend more time with friends instead of parents. Hence, they grow closer to them and are guided by them.
Parents also often force children to study. Thus, children start thinking of them as a pain and enjoy the company of their friends even more. In this case, it is the parents’ fault. The relationship between them should be such that children confide in parents even when they grow up. You should not allow the generation gap to develop.
For this, parents must hang out with children and their friends too. They must speak freely and be more than parents to them. Only then would there be mutual understanding.
Vikram Karve, creative writer