Tips for understanding your teenaged child

Being the parent of a teenager who is still embarking on his teenage journey,  I can assure you,  everything you thought you have learnt as a parent is going to be undone.  Suddenly,  the sweet, innocent, cute baby has turned into a new person.  You are unable to understand him.  The child who used to cling to you all the time, no longer needs you.  You were the heroine of his life,  but now suddenly, you are so ignorant, uncool.  If you are facing similar issues,  then be assured,  it is time to change your attitude and your parenting methods.

As a toddler, your child was completely dependent on you and he had specific needs.  But, as he grew older, went to school,  your interaction with him also changed.  Similarly,  when the child becomes a teenager,  there are drastic changes.  And you as a parent also need to change accordingly.   Here are some tips you can follow

  1. Control your emotions –  Be in control of your emotions always.  Nothing can make a teenager happier than seeing that he has irritated you.  He finally has your attention.  Though he is trying to push you away,  all he is screaming for is attention and acceptance.
  2. Avoid pressurizing – The child is also facing lot of external pressures like peer pressure, examination pressure and top of that your pressure to see the child succeed at all costs.  All children are not equal.  It is not possible to score 90% all the time.  Look at your own friends from school.  Those who were at the top in rankings,  are not always very successful.  Similarly,  those who used to flunk in all the exams, are today having successful jobs or running successful businesses.  So, chill.
  3. Remember your own days as a teenager – As a teenager, surely you were also as exasperating to your own parents.  If you think, you were an ideal child, please talk to your parents again on how you were as a teenager.   Put yourself in your child’s shoes and think what you would have done.
  4. Change your attitude –  Your teenager is neither a child nor an adult.  So, stop talking to him like you talk to small kids.  He wants to be responsible, but guide him on what needs to be done.  Talk to him like you are talking to a friend.  He will open up more he thinks you are acceptable of two-way communication.
  5. Give space to your child –  The teenager needs his space.  So stop being a helicopter parent.  You need not know what he is up to down to the last-minute.   Let him choose his own clothes, maintain own hairstyle, listen to his favorite music.  He is developing his own individuality and trying to keep up with his peers.
  6. Develop trust with your child –  The child needs to trust you again.  He needs to know that if he is going to tell you something, you are not going to judge him or scream at him.  Only then will he tell you all.
  7. Be the best friend of your child –  Develop the relationship as much as possible.  He should know always that in case of any problem, you are there to support him.  Remind him about this as often as possible.
  8. Accept him as he is –  Remember your child is not Sachin Tendulkar or Ranbir Kapoor or Malala Yousufzai.  So, accept the child as he is instead of pressuring him to be someone else.  With your support,  he will surely be successful.  With half the opportunities around,  we have all somewhat succeeded in life, so will he.

And lastly,  be yourself.  You need not change to become a different person for your child.  He will realize you are faking it and will not respect you.

I am still learning to be the parent to my teenaged son.  Any more suggestions will help me too.

As part of Day 5 of WriteTribe,  we are writing a post about tips.