Parents of teenagers seems to be very anxious about their teens decisions and try to protect them by giving a lot of advice which in most case never works with teenagers. Parents finds it difficult to adjust with the behavioural transition of their children who once used to look up to parents for everything started acting very independent where they behave as if they don’t need their parents’ advice anymore. Here we have few tips for parents to better understand their teenagers that helps in building a rapport with them.
Rational part of the teenagers is not developed until 21 so do not judge them for their poor decisions/ mistakes rather be patient with them
Most teenagers often struggle with decision making in their life, especially when the choices are more. Frontal lobe is the decision-making part of our brain which develops completely only by the age of 21 and for some only by the age of 25. Therefore, do not get panic when you see your teenagers quite confused about what has to be done in life. It is absolutely normal for them not to have a clear plan about their future. They are often the victims of misunderstanding and they will be labeled as lazy, not ambitious, careless etc. What best as parents and teachers can do is watch them from a distance without interfering and being anxious.
Listen to them if you want them to listen to you
Since the teenager’s struggle with decision making, we can see them getting involved in several risk taking behaviours such as drug abuse, suicide, multiple relationships etc. Therefore, it is very crucial for parents and teachers to guide them without them knowing that you are interfering in their life as at this stage they don’t like anyone messing with their freedom. So, build a rapport with them by first listening to them, by considering their opinions, understanding their life crisis and never demean them as immature bunch. This helps them to reach out to you when they are in trouble and also will respect your suggestions on how to deal with it.
Respect the individuality of teenagers and stop being an enmeshed parent
Most parents forget to change their parenting style even when their children become a teenager. They still consider them as tiny people who does not know to take care of themselves. This is why teenagers find very difficult to get along with their parents. At this age they desire for their personal space and they enjoy autonomy. Parents should understand this fact and stop being over involved parents. Learn to trust your teenager at the same time be watchful of them without enmeshment.
Remember they are not born to fulfill your dreams, but they are born with unique purpose
Parents who never got to fulfill their dreams because of various circumstances of their life tend to persuade their child to accomplish what they couldn’t when they were young. This hampers the independent development of your child and in turn they grow up to become something which they don’t enjoy and becomes an unhappy individual like you who couldn’t follow his/her dreams. This also creates a lot of confusion in the teenagers as they will have to battle between their dreams and their parent’s dreams. Ultimately neither the parents nor the child will be benefited.
Encourage their strengths/ passions and expose to them different opportunities in the world
Teenagers will be often bombarded with popular options, for example “what you want to become, doctor or engineer?”. We tend to give them very narrow options where they end up choosing either one as they find it difficult to choose for themselves and later struggle with the decision they took. So, expose your teenagers with various opportunities and help them to match them with their strengths. Studies have proved that one becomes self- actualised in their work life when their strength, passion and career is in the same line otherwise it will not energise them where they reach to a point to quit job and follow the passion after wasting many years unsatisfied doing a job.
Lets be mindful to look at our teenagers no more as a child neither as an adult instead respect their stage of life where the parents should stop controlling them rather make sure that they don’t approach others but you when they are in trouble.