The transitional age is a very turbulent period of life both for the teenager himself and for his parents. At this time, adolescents go through a stage of transformation, both physical and mental, which inherently entails a whole bunch of difficulties – from mood swings and bursts of aggression to complete apathy, and sometimes even suicidal tendencies.
How to make sure that your teenage child is ok and does not end up endangering him- or herself, without resorting to extreme measures of oppression and limiting personal freedoms? This is what we talk about today.
Find common ground …
Regardless of gender, type of temperament, age and other features, there are always things that connect you. A rush of hormones associated with puberty manifests itself not only in a desire to express oneself sexually. As a rule, teenagers during this period also strive to be creative, lead an active lifestyle and just live life to its fullest.
A teenager’s rapidly expanded outlook may allow you to find more common ground, more interesting pastimes and other ways to spend time together. It is crucial though to express genuine interest in his or her hobby – once a teenager sees your sincerity, he’ll gladly share the experience with you.
… but keep the distance
Being involved is one thing, but violation of personal space is totally unacceptable. It is important to display a sense of balance and tact. If a teenager is exploring, say, YouTube blogging, it doesn’t mean that you two need to co-run a channel. You can help him in other ways, for example, offer a token of constructive criticism or help with the technical aspects of filming a video.
Remember to always test the waters first. If privacy is a key point of a teenager’s hobby, then it would be most unwise on your part to poke your nose around. Keep in mind that teenager’s actions are often dictated not by logic, but by emotions alone, and any unwanted interference can and most likely will be met with hostility.
Let them make mistakes
One of the most important aspects of growing up is the ability to learn from your own mistakes. Of course, teenagers, due to their age, need mentoring more than ever. But it should not be through imposing the “one correct” path you chose for your kid. It should be through gentle guidance, advising from a pure heart.
Sometimes you just have to let a little child fall down and rise on its own, in order for him to understand that his parents will not always be around to help him out. Likewise, teenagers must make mistakes in order to then learn to correct them. And your persistent intervention will only annoy your child, preventing the natural flow of things.
No need to rush it
When it comes to teenagers, parents are often divided into two camps. Some still consider their children to be almost babies. They think they need to be spoon-fed and have their blankets tucked in before going to bed on a daily basis. For others, teenagers are already almost full-fledged adults, who need to do everything by themselves. Needless to say, both approaches are equally doomed.
The first type is a subject for a separate discussion another time. The second, though possessing some benefits (adolescents, more often than not, like to be treated as adults, not as babies), too often just hits absolutism. Such parents sometimes deprive the teenager of any support altogether, motivating it rather simply – “he/she is already a grown up”.
Here, yet again, you need to strike the right balance. Take a closer look, listen to your child. Teenagers are often quite secretive, so you will need to use your parental intuition to the fullest. Find out when he or she needs your help and when it is better to leave a teenager to his own devices. You should neither indulge them too much, nor go too harsh on them.
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