How we feel as parents of adolescents:
If there was a definition of parents of adolescents, it might look like this. This person is highly anxious, stressed and uncertain about a lot of things involving their child.
To the mix, we must add an element of dread too because don’t we often wonder if we’re doing the right thing as parents?
Here are some of the feelings we harbor against our children:
- They’ve no idea how we grew up without fancy technology in our lives.
- I can’t keep up with technology and his changing lifestyle.
- They’re not grateful for the things they have.
- I wonder how they will manage their future.
- I wonder if they will turn out OK.
- Why do they keep doing stupid things and take irrational risks?
- I feel helpless and powerless.
- They don’t value us parents.
Types of parenting style:
Most parenting styles fall broadly under two categories:
Permissive and authoritative parenting. Permissive is the opposite of authoritative and demanding style of parenting. Permissive parenting is where you’re more accommodating and less controlling. You are more indulgent with your child’s every desire.
How parenting must evolve:
We are used to giving more guidance and protection in the early years of our children. But as they grow, they expect us to be more hands off and less rigid in our manners with them.
Having a balance of both permissive and authoritative styles is the ideal way of parenting. Give your children the guidelines and expectations to thrive while giving them the support they need with their struggles.
You parent an infant differently than a toddler. You parent a 10 year old differently than a 16 year old. When parents see that their children are orienting towards their peers, they feel a sense of losing control, and thats when we become clingy and nagging. Instead, respect their budding individuality and adopt to technology. After all, thanks to technology, we now have phone calls for arguments and status messages to express feelings.
Always listen first:
Begin every day with a genuine interest in listening to their voices. Be honest and open about your curiosity, but don’t listen with a problem solving agenda in mind. Reserve opinions and judgment for later.
Connect before your communicate:
Most often, the primary point of contention between children and parents occurs because of a breakdown of communication. But, before we express how we feel about their behavior and the rules they’re breaking, we have to connect with them first.
The alternative to not connecting before communicating is dangerous. Being dismissive and condescending about their troubles and anxieties may lead to children withdrawing themselves from parents. In the worst case, they will push back for intruding into their business because you’re judgmental and reach out to their peers instead.
Laugh a little:
Humanize yourself. Show that you take life seriously but not yourself. Learn to laugh a little at their mistakes along with them, instead of correcting them and fixing them every chance you get. Just like them, you’re trying to find out what your purpose is in life. Tell them poverty, grief, divorces exist because we’re all human.
Trust and respect:
Children respect adults who take them seriously. Children put their faith in us to raise them well and to the best of our ability. So, its your turn to return the favor by trusting them to do a good job with their life. The best we can do is to equip them with the tools they need. We trust them, we just don’t trust their age. Make yourself approachable by allowing them to rely on you without fear of judgment.
Trust them not their age:
Don’t assume that your child is not interested in what you’ve to say. Just like how they want to be heard, they also want to hear from their loved ones. Whether you like it or not, talking about safe sex practices and children’s sexuality is a good idea. Imagine the alternative. Your children get their sex ed from the internet or peers who also learn through hearsay.
About the adult content that’s available so readily on the internet now, we should tell our teenagers that they don’t have to believe everything they see. Just like fake news exists, so do people with fake body parts. “Real life is boring and real people look normal.” Remember, its our duty as caregivers to plant the seeds of love, connection and hope. In the end, when they will allow these seeds to sprout is upto them.
Kids can feel dirty especially when they’re teenagers. They realize their impulsive behavior and their mood swings. Their life is governed by emotions. So, agree with them about their excessive obsessions first and then try to reason with them next. They’re dealing with the loss of their nonchalant childhood as real life of expectations and deadlines hits them hard. They don’t have the advantage of us adults who already know that no one is perfect.
How teens thrive:
Believe it or not, having rules, expectations and boundaries to follow, makes children feel loved. If they don’t have boundaries set for them, they feel less protected and undervalued. Without rules, they begin to question if they even matter to us. Think about it, even if your child tells you they don’t like your rules, for this reason, they must be set.
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