By Dr Samir Parikh
As a parent, we all strive to do our best for the child at that given point of time. Parenthood in itself is a phase of life which is often considered as a mix of challenges as well as well as crucial experiences. However, it is important to remember that there is no thumb-rule to guarantee a perfect parenting style. In fact, the learning opportunities are not restricted to the children, but also to the parental figures who also end up being trained as a parent during this journey!
Adolescence as a phase is characterised by rapid developments, including both physical as well as psychological changes. It is a crucial stage of development, not only for the adolescent, but for the parents as well, bringing with it a set of apprehensions and worries. It is not uncommon to hear parental concerns regarding the approaching teenage years, being associated with changing expectations and relationships. However, the significance of parenting cannot be emphasised enough, as it has a long-lasting impact on the nurturance as well as overall growth and development of the child in the years to come.
5 Tips for Parents of Adolescents
- Connect with the teenager: As a parent to a teen, it is more important for you to be able to develop a connected relationship with the teenager, rather than having him or her disciplined and within your control. It is vital for the teenagers to be able to identify with their parents, and this is the stage they can form deep and long-lasting bonds with you, based on an understanding towards each other.
- Adopt a participative approach: Such an approach works best as involving them within the decision-making processes not only gives them a sense of acknowledgement and responsibility, but also makes them more committed towards implementing and fulfilling those decisions.
- Set an example yourself: Young minds are very easily imprinted by what they see or hear around them. There is no way that your teenager will learn to deal effectively with conflicts if he/she doesn’t see you doing the same. Whether it be with your spouse, elders, or staff, you need to model appropriate behaviour, so that the teenager can learn from your example, for instance of choosing to be assertive instead of aggressive.
- Avoid helicoptering: “Helicopter parent” is an increasingly popular term that is used to describe parents who are both over-protective and over-involved in their adolescent’s life. While it’s important for you to be involved in your adolescent’s day to day life, and for them to know that you’re available when they need you; however, when this healthy involvement inadvertently turns into intrusiveness, it can cause distress in the relationship. The adolescent may also act out aggressively and become rebellious. A better approach would be to foster an open, honest and non-judgmental communication channel, so that you teenager feels comfortable enough to share his/her concerns with you.
- Enjoy (time) with them: Yes, parenting an adolescent is not necessarily to be demarcated as a challenge. On the contrary, it is possible to actually enjoy yourself, with your adolescents, and also learning from them in the process. Engaging and becoming involved in their activities can be a good start, and reciprocally can also help in encouraging them to take an interest in your own tasks as well.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are personal. Material on The Health Collective cannot substitute for expert advice from a trained professional.
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