Whoever told you that the infancy stage was the hardest part to get through with your child, obviously didn’t like you very much because what they told you are complete lies. Once you encounter the nightmare that is teenagers, you’ll wish you can go back to the sweet old days. Sure, there were numerous sleepless nights back then but what’s so different about that from now? At least, back then, you had your child in front of you. Now, it’s staying up late, waiting for them to come home, wondering if they are out there making little babies of their own.
Well, at least you no longer have to spend your hard earned money on diapers and baby formulas, you say? Now, they are demanding money from you for more clothes, more make-up, more alcohol and more who knows what? Its’ enough to make you look back and think ‘those were the cheap days.’
If you have recently became the parent of a child or god forbid, children who has hit puberty, then buckle up tight because you are in on one heck of a ride. For those of you still in denial, thinking no way that foul mouthed, bad tempered, rebellious creature is your darling little angel, let me paint the picture clearer for you. Those good old days in which you can bribe them to behave with sweets and treats are long gone. Now, you are in the war zone.
You may often find your home becoming a battle ground where your fiercest opponent is also the apple of your eye: your children. You will be constantly driven to your mental limits and your verbal abuse skills will be regularly tested. In cases such as these, it is important to keep in mind that losing your temper does not resolve problems. Bad mouthing your teenager back will only cause you to lose your dignity and make you look like a grouchy teenager yourself. Patience may be a virtue, but in the case of dealing with teenagers, it is a necessity.
Sometimes, you need to check yourself to make sure you are not the one being unreasonable due to over protectiveness and over possessiveness of your child. Their wings are slowly growing; don’t cripple them by not allowing them to practise flying. You can’t keep them in the nest, under your close watch forever.
Do keep in mind that although the teenage years may be some of the best times of a person’s life, it may also be some of life’s toughest. It may be a period filled with turbulent emotions, hormone and testosterone driven actions, peer pressure and self consciousness. You need to make sure that you do not become a burden for them on top of that. This means giving them space, allowing them to develop aspects of their identity on their own. After all, as hard as it may be to accept, you are not going to be the centre of their world forever, even if they forever remain more yours.
This does not mean becoming total strangers with your teen. Though they may deny it, they still need you and underneath it all, your opinion does matter to them. It is crucial to keep the line of communication open. Don’t be too judgemental and always be supportive, encouraging and reassuring. Research shows that 80% of both males and females are more confident in their youth if they perceive that they have the support and approval of their families.
When talking with your adolescent about their actions or peer group or something or other that you are worried about (believe me, there will be plenty of those), don’t purely focus on the negative aspects. State the pros and cons of the issue (as hard as it may be to find any benefits of teen drinking or under aged sex) and allow them to decide for themselves what is right or wrong, with only a gentle push from you in the right direction. They are going to make plenty of mistakes, stupid ones, serious ones, and ones which makes you wonder why you ever reproduced. Ultimately, the important thing is not to scold and berate them for their mistakes but to help them learn and grow from the mistakes they’ve made.
Am I putting you off parenting yet? From reading this article, it may be easy to believe that once your child hits puberty, they have gone over to the dark side. However, by focusing on all the negative points of teenagers, we sometimes forget to treasure those good times. As your teenager grows and matures, you may discover in them a newfound companion whom not only you take care of but whom learns to take of you in return. Through your adolescent, you may find a new zest for life infected by their enthusiasm and optimism.
When that is said and done, however, what is the real secret to coping with your teenager? Pretend that person challenging you to yet another verbal sparring or yet again driving you up the wall isn’t your teenager but merely some demonic presence that has momentarily possessed your son or daughter’s form. Tread your water carefully around them, so you don’t get your head bitten off. The relieving thing is that their rudeness, laziness and brainless actions are only temporary glitches in their brain. Sooner or later, they revert back to human beings.
When the time gets too tough, take a deep breath and remember they are the ones paying for your holiday home. After all, if you think about it now, that’s why you had them in the first place, isn’t it?