Guide for Parents: Dealing with Teenagers
Teenage years have a bad reputation. Society portrays teenagers as whining spoiled brats. Numerous movies were created with problematic teenagers as the central plot. Despite the bad undertone associated with teenage years, parents should be prepared to handle these issues when their children reach this age; otherwise they might find that their kids are dangerously turning to strangers online, according to BetterHelp.com. Teenagers are technically children aged 13 to 19. During these years, they experience many bodily, emotionally and mental changes. These changes and developments are also overwhelming for teenagers themselves. They will start developing secondary sex characteristics that may disrupt their bodily image. Their mental capability also increases with deductive reasoning and the ability for abstract thinking.
Parents without prior experience in handling teenagers might find themselves in dilemma. Their once sweet and well-behaved child suddenly or gradually transformed to someone that they don’t know. To assist and to help out their children in this confusing time, they also need to arm themselves with the correct knowledge and helpful techniques. According to experts, there are several ways to do in order to lessen the troublesome times ahead.
Learn to understand the teen years
The best way of handling teenagers is learning about this stage beforehand. Try reading guide books in how to deal with teenagers. Also, asking advice from different parents on how they discipline and handle their teens might be useful in the long run. The internet may be an easy and accessible avenue for doing this. There are some online chat rooms that exchange experiences and can help you on this matter. However, avoid overdoing things. Also, tap into your innate skills as a parent and know that he/she is still your child and he/she is just going over something enormous. It would be better to have fully educated parents regarding the matter.
Don’t set yourself up for failure
Many parents view teenage years as a trial. They see this a time of watching helplessly on the sidelines while their once lovable kids turn into disrespectful and stubbornly independent human beings. It seems that one day they somewhat control and decide for their children and the next day, their kids don’t need them. Negative expectations usually turn into self-proclaiming prophecy. In fact, according to a study done by Wake Forest University, it shows that teens with parents who expect the worst from their teenagers reported having a higher incidence of risky behaviors. Parents should be realistic about the possible worst scenarios but always focused on the interests and hobbies of your teenager.
Watch out for warning signs
It is natural to detect changes during this period; however, drastic and long-lasting deviance from the normal personality of the teenager is something to watch for. Some of these signs are:
• Any inkling of tobacco, alcohol or drug use
• Failing marks
• Skipping classes in school
• Verbalization and/or jokes about suicide
• Extreme weight gain or loss
• Sleeping disturbances
• Sudden change of clique
• Any inappropriate behavior that lasts for more than 6 weeks
• If any of these are observed, please seek your local counselor, psychologist, or doctor.
Give teenagers some leeway
Teenage years is the stage where children break away from the reins off their parents and try to establish their independence. Also, they get validation and acceptance from their peers and circle of friends. Parents, don’t expect your children to spend their time solely in your presence. Allow them to spend time with their friends and pursue their hobbies and interest. Don’t take these choices personally. Teenagers opt to spend their time exploring and trying new things. It’s all part of growing up and we have been teenagers once in our lives.
Choose your battles wisely
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Parents might be shocked of their child’s ridiculous hairstyle or not so proper fashion choices but before scolding or criticizing his/her choices take a moment to see the bigger picture. Ask yourself is it worth it to be fighting over these choices? Is it harmful to your child? What do you think is his/her motivation for doing such thing? Allow your kids to make age appropriate decisions and give them the opportunities to make mistakes, but always be there to support and guide them.
Be a good role model
No matter what these teenagers may believe, parents are their first and most crucial role models in life. Their parents or immediate caregivers are their default template for their future decisions and choices. Show your kids how to make rational decisions and how to handle failure and expectations.
Invite their peers/friends over
This is a subtle way of finding out what type of people your teenager surrounds himself/herself with. With these small get together in your home, they can find a safe place to hang out and you can somewhat get a feel of their interests.
Discuss “Checking up/Checking in” calls
Curfews are usually given to teenagers but also set a time for checking up your child and for your child to call you. These set schedules limit the worry from the parents when the teenager is on his/her own. For instance, when the teenager is going to a party at around 9 pm and said to be back at 3 am, the parents decide with the consent of the teenager to call around 12 midnight just to check up on his/her whereabouts or situation or the other way around. The teenager can call his/her parents to check in.