Let’s face it, all of our children will one day reach those dreaded “Teen Years,” but by handling the problem teen correctly from the beginning, you may find these years more rewarding than trying.
Putting aside certain emotional and physiological factors, many of the problems that parents experiences with their teens stem from the fact that a teen is in transition from child to adult. When a child reaches those critical teenage years they begin to realize that they are individuals, and want to assert this new found individually. Along with realizing that they are their own person, they begin to want a sense of independence.
Of course as parents, we must set up boundaries, and the majority of the time a teenager will view these boundaries as an invasion of their space and independence. So how do we deal with this emerging adult who has not quite made it to the age of complete independence?
First of all, we should remember back to the time when we were the same age and factor into that memory the way of life today. How did we feel at that age? What were our dreams, ambitions and our most secret desire’s? Realize that our children are probably not a whole lot different than we were at the same age.
At the same time, keep in mind that society is completely different today, than it was when you were sixteen, and a child’s surroundings will always play a major role in who they are. What is acceptable to the world today, was in no way acceptable twenty or thirty years ago. If you are to relate and communicate with your child, you must imagine yourself as sixteen in today’s world.
This is not to say that we must accept something that we know is wrong no matter what time era it is in, such as drug use. All it means is that we must remember the world in which our children grew up in. You may never be able to completely relate to your teen, but communication will be a lot easier if you understand who they are.
At all times remember that you are the parent, your job is to help your child to always feel loved and secure; offer advice and guidance. When you absolutely do have to set boundaries, explain your actions to your child and let them know why you feel these boundaries are important. It is extremely important to take a few moments and explain your actions to your child. By doing this, they will feel less like a prisoner of their age, and a little more like their parents are doing something for their own good, even if they don’t agree with it.
Be a friend to your teen, always let them know that you are there for them and they can talk to you about anything that they feel they need to talk about. If a child feels secure in their parents’ love, they are far more likely to bring their problems to you, rather than to peers who may not give them the best advice.
Another piece of advice is to let your child express their individuality as much as reasonably possible. Don’t try and mold them, let them grow into to who they are, and always give them encouragement while they are searching for their own place in life. Understand that the strange haircuts and odd clothes are just a passing stage while they are exploring life. As long as it is not harmful, cope with their weird quirks with a smile.
Above all, when your child makes wonderful accomplishments and does truly remarkable things, treat it as remarkable. Let them know always, that you love them and you are very proud of them. When you put all these things together, you may just find that these problem teens are not really so problematic, and they grow into truly magnificent adults.
For those who do truly have severe problems with their teens, it is still important to following these guidelines, but at the same time, seek help for your child from counselors or whatever form seems appropriate to you. The problem may be much deeper than what you as a parent can handle. This doesn’t mean that your child is a lost cause, it just means that they will need even more love and encouragement to grow into that wonderful person that you know they are.