The Adolescent Equation
A fulfilling adolescence is an important piece in the jigsaw puzzle that leads to the making up of a happy adult, someone who is independent and capable of forming healthy relationships. Parents are the ones who have the power to fit in all the right.
For many of us, adolescence was a rocky ride. One moment we were fine traversing on our own, the next moment we were met by a tidal wave of raging hormones, academic pressure, and social responsibilities. This often left us with a lot of questions and confusions, for which there seemed to be no explanation within our reach. What’s even difficult to understand is how during such stifling moments ‑‑ when we really needed all the support we could get ‑‑ we hardly had the words to ask for it aloud. Needless to say, having a strong anchor in our parents during this rocky phase of our life; during adolescence, makes all the difference.
Thankfully times have changed. Recent researches into neuroscience and adolescence behavior have brought forth revelatory results, which have changed our parenting techniques and understanding for the better. For one, we can rid ourselves of the common cliché images we have of teenagers and adolescents ‑- outrageously rebellious, loud and sulky. Perhaps what might be hidden beneath this façade, according to Erik Erikson, is an ‘identity crisis.’
Parents of budding adolescents must have certainly asked this question, ‘What does my teenage child want from me?’ Although every child is different and might have different psychosocial needs, there are really some fundamental requirements that go into the making of a healthy adult, someone who is confident, independent, and capable of forming healthy relationships in the future.
First of all, ‘authoritative’ parenting is starkly different than an ‘authoritarian’ style of parenting. If the latter is characterized by a rigorous control and rules, the former is a healthy area, where there are not only demands and expectations on both sides, but also an equal degree of warmth and healthy communication. Moreover, in authoritative style of parenting, a parent isn’t an ‘absent’ figure, who just fulfill the basic requirements of his or her children and fade into the background, but someone who has an active role in the lives of the children ‑‑ guiding, supporting and leading them safely in the path to adulthood. As a result, the adolescent children grow up to be more independent and self-reliant.
We often hear that parents are usually the last to know what’s happening in their children’s lives. What’s lacking here? The answer is communication. It is an undeniable fact that teenagers are usually reluctant to open up to their parents. In instances such as these, Dr. Rana suggests grabbing the opportunity whenever they seem to have the temperament to open up, and then let them talk their heart out and vice versa. In other instances, such as when parents are monitoring their children about the time they should return home, it is important to let them know why parents are doing it, and make them understand the sentiment behind it. Instead of badgering children about the mistakes they have made, parents should instead appreciate their honesty in opening up to them and at the same time try to understand why did it, and if they will do it again. Communication is vital in every step.
Sense of responsibility
Adolescence is that weird stage when, teenagers are considered adult enough to make big decisions about their life but still young enough to not stay outside after 9 p.m. However, giving adolescents the taste of responsibility over their life is an important way to develop their individuality. Hovering over them constantly, and making all the decisions for them, will only make them overtly dependent on their parents, to the extent that they might have difficulty distinguishing what’s right and wrong later in their life. However, it is also equally important to guide them when they are handling responsibilities and lift them up whenever they mess up.
Love and affection
No one can be more wrong if he or she says, “You’ll spoil your children, if you love them excessively.” Actually, you can never go wrong with love. Instead, if parents are openly affectionate with their children from a very young age, they are in turn teaching their children to be affectionate. Loving them not only teaches children to be reciprocal but also nurtures their budding self-esteem.
Trust their judgment
Trust is the foundation upon which every relationship is built. This means trusting children when they make the right decisions and praising them for it, and trusting them even when they make wrong ones. It is important to let children know that everyone makes mistakes, even parents. It’s not a fault of their ability and worth, if they do make some wrong choices. Nothing can be more degrading for an adolescent’s growth than constantly reminding and blaming them for their mistakes. Instead what’s inherently helpful is reminding them that it’s ok to mess up once in a while, but they need to bounce back and never stop believing in their own abilities