While you’ve lived through your kid’s ‘terrible twos’ that involved him/her crying for hours in the night, dealing with a teenager can lead to anxious times for many parents. This is the time when your child goes through hormonal changes, leading to physical as well as behavioural changes. This is also a time when peers take over a more important role in yourchild’s life leaving you feeling neglected. Sayschild psychologist Niru Chheda, “Teenage is a very sensitive period and parenting a teenager is very difficult, especially in today’s times where the kids are exposed to the world through technology.” Here’s your guide to dealing with your kid’s teen years.
1. Start early
There’s no point telling your daughter about menstruation once she gets her first period. This would only make her press the panic button. Instead, start earlier. Answer the early questions that your kid has about his/her body, the difference between boys and girls or where do babies come from. This will also stop your kid from surfing the internet trying to find answers.
2. Listen to your kid
According to Dr Pavan Sonar, the most common mistake parents make is that they often judge their kids.They expect their child to act like an adult at this age and ridicule him/her for the smallest mistake. Dr Sonar says, “Parents should listen to what their kid has to say.”
3. Don’t pressurise
“Parents set standards for their child by talking about the things they used to do when they were of their kid’s age. This is likely to additional pressure on your child. Instead, it is important that you understand today’s generation and set realistic expectations,” says Chheda.
If you are unable to understand your kid’s situation as a parent, put yourself in his/her shoes. Understand that your teen is going through emotional stress and accept the fact that what may not be a big deal to you could be an issue your child.
A free, two-way communication between parents and kid is most important. Engage in activities that involve bonding with your child, be it going for movies or dinners together. Working parents, especially, find it difficult to spend sufficient time with their kid and this may lead to lack of communication. “A friendly environment will encourage your kid to share his/her worries with you. A parent’s job is to show the right path in those situations, in non-authoritarian way,” says Dr Sonar.
6. Respect privacy
While it is important to monitor what your child is upto, it is equally essential to know when to back off and respect his/her privacy. Giving your kid his/her space will ensure that he/she turns into an independent adult.
7. Be a friend more than a parent
At this age, your kid is looking more for a friend in you rather than a strict parent. “Often, parents have tears in their eyes when they come to me seeking help because their child is not talking to them. You need to be patient. Take interest in your kid’s friends and if you are objecting to any particular behaviour of your kid, give a reason,” says Chheda.
8. Dos and don’ts when dealing with a teen
-Listen to your kid
-Share your experiences to guide them
-Keep a non threatening atmosphere at home
-Take interest in his/her friends
-Bond with your child by doing things he/she likes
-Set a good example
-Preach your kid
-Snap at them
-Ridicule or judge them
-Be a neglecting parent
-Hate them for their mistakes