Teenage is a period when young
people identify their place in the family, peer groups, and the
larger community. Most parents confront real challenges in handling
their teens. The transition of an affectionate and obedient child
into a rebellious, and arguing youth creates an extra sense of concern
and worry in the parents. The memories of their past experiences,
the present environmental influences and constant preoccupation
with the thoughts of the future of their child induce extreme anxiety
and tension within them. The teens on the other hand must contend
with physical and psychological changes, pressures from parents,
peers and the society and increased expectations from everyone.
They are under greater pressures, than in their younger years, needing
their parental support more than ever. Hence parenting teens need
extra understanding and skill.
“Have Parents not been through
their teen years? – Yet, why are they less tolerant of their
child’s behavior during this period? ”
Parents are usually in their fourth and fifth decade at the time
and may be going through their own midlife crisis. At this stage
of life they are often wondering about the direction of their own
lives and careers. Having teenagers who seem to have endless opportunities
and who appear ungrateful can stir a lot of emotion in parents.
Alternatively, parents may be yearning for a calmer period in their
life, which may be disturbed by the dynamic and demanding teenager.
In this context it is quite likely for parents to react negatively
forgetting the joy in parenting a teenager.
What parents need to understand about
the teenage development?
Changes occur in physical, mental and psychosocial facets of the
Teens often making them feel confused, frightened and lacking in
confidence. Physically, their bodily changes might make them feel
awkward and self-conscious. They can experience intense sexual feelings
that can be alarming to them, especially if they have no one to
confide in. Emotionally, they experience great mood swings as they
discover the range of human emotions. Intellectually, they learn
to analyze things and develop their own opinions and views. They
begin to perceive the inadequacies in the parental world and have
constant introspection about their role and meaning in life.
Being independent – Are Parents
not needed by them any more?
It is very normal for this age group to spend more time with their
own friends and interests thereby distancing themselves from their
parents. Yet they need their parents. Though they are growing up
and feel separated from the family, they seek support, guidance
and encouragement. They need parents who remain involved and interested
in their lives and act as an indivisible steering force as they
negotiate the problems in their lives. Remaining connected with
your teenager is an important part of Parenting.
How to remain connected with your teens?
Building a connection with a child or teenager is not something
that can be rushed or fitted into a busy schedule. The most important
decision you can make is to allocate time for them. Teens are often
insecure and are battling with pressures around them. The argumentative
or sulky moods are only a front and they need more than ever the
support and encouragement of their parents. Often a genuine complement
or a pat on their back makes a difference. Encouragement works wonders
Responding to your teenager's initiative is yet another way to connect
Teen’s expectation on Parenting
They want their parents to trust them and have faith in them but
they want privacy as well. They want to talk to their parents about
some things but they don't want to tell them everything. They expect
independence but also intensely look forward for their support.
Which Parenting Styles fail?
There are three styles of disempowering parenting that one can tend
towards, despite the best of intentions. These styles impart irresponsibility
in teenagers and do not prepare them for the task of being an adult.
• Over-protective parent: Doing everything for your teenagers,
for example, waking them up in the morning, making their breakfast
and lunch, tidying up for them, washing their clothes, covering
for them when they miss homework etc.
• Critical parent: Nagging, correcting, and policing the teenagers
over every task without giving them adequate space and responsibility
- for example nagging them to do their homework and then breathing
over their neck while they do it, and criticizing their attempts.
• Permissive parent: Giving your teenagers all the liberty
without being involved in them and having little influence in their
What strategies parents should follow
to support their child during teenage?
• Educate yourself about adolescent development
• Remember your own adolescence
• Think about taking a course on good parenting. Parenting
is a learned skill
• Listen more than talk
• Teach your teens about the joys and troubles of life and
ways to revel in the good times and cope with the bad
• Use positive reinforcement for positive behavior whenever
• Teach your teens that rights and responsibilities go hand
in hand, and give your child increasing responsibility for his or
her personal well-being and that of the family.
• Help your teens to move toward independence
• Provide your child chances to become involved in the community
• Spend quality and quantity time with your teens
• Seek support and guidance for yourself in dealing with the
changes in a child moving through adolescence
• Do not always push for drastic or dramatic solutions
• Continue to provide your children with positive feedback
and opportunities to grow
Warning signs of teen in trouble –
Need for professional help
• Spending most time alone, and isolating themselves from
family and friends
• Sudden deterioration in school performance
• Drastic mood swings or changes in behavior
• Changes in your child's peer group or separation from long-time
friends or developing strange friendships
• Lack of interest in hobbies or social and recreational activities
• Pathological lying
• Frequent narrations on ending their life and suicidal thoughts
Tips for Successful Parenting
• Love and connect
• Take Time to be present in Your Teen’s Life
• Listen! Talk less and listen more. Make time for conversation
with your teens
• Share your vision. Constantly vocalize your hopes and dreams
• Encourage Independence.
• Encourage them to make decisions and choices
• Provide factual information to your teen as necessary to
make healthy decisions.
• Think Problem Solving – NOT Rule Enforcement
• Do not be Judgmental
• Practice difficult situations. Set up situations and “what
if’s” to practice what to do in difficult situations.
• Be proactive by establishing clear guidelines
• Monitor. But do not police them
• Make Room for New Opportunities
• Celebrate, Recognize, Reward.
• Decide What Matters – Your Standards Matter!
• Be a Role Model.
Common Parenting Mistakes
• We talk too much
• We fail to grow with our children.
• We attend to negative behavior
• We tell children what not to do, not what to do.
• We react after a mistake has been made. Rules should be
set up before the problem behavior not after the act.
• We forget to have FUN with our teens