Do you still remember your teenage years? The period of time during which a child grows and matures into a young adult. The path is not smooth and the journey is one filled with challenges. Now that your child is entering his or her teens, do you, as a parent, know what to expect?
You will start to notice a rebellious streak forming in him or her as he/she starts to challenge and question everything you say. Every rule you have set for him or her to abide by becomes a bone of contention. “No” and “Why” become your child’s two most favourite words. They will think that they are always right, or that they know better. However, instead of a heated argument, try to reason with them. Talk to them patiently and tell them why what they did was wrong and the consequences that will follow if they were to do it again.
Expect emotions to constantly run wild as well. Your child might be laughing happily one moment, but may be fuming mad the next. You must express understanding and patience. There is no benefit fighting fire with fire. Shouting back when your child shouts as you will not solve anything. Let your child’s emotions level out before attempting to reason with them and get to the root of whatever problem they might be facing.
Curiosity will also peak around this time. As a parent you have set certain rules to be obeyed, such as “Smoking is bad for you” or “Do not mingle with bad company.” However, teenagers will be tempted by all these experiences that have been denied to them. If your teenager has disobeyed a rule that you have set, getting furious and severely punishing him or her will do little good. Sometimes, it may be better to accept that a mistake has to be made in order for lessons to be learn. That way, your teen will know the repercussions of his or her actions and will think twice before doing something similar in the future.
It may pain you but the truth is that you may not be your teenager’s most favourite person during these years. As a parent, you are an authority figure, and authority is the one thing teenagers will undermine.. However, you will also be the one they turn to for guidance and advice when they are lost and confused. Be there for them and be their pillar of support during as they navigate through this trying period of their life.
Again remember, you were once a teenager yourself. Empathise with your child and stand by him or her as they will need you more than ever. No doubt your relationship will be tested, but at the end of it all, take heart that they will emerge as mature, responsible youths ready to enter adulthood with you having played an important role in their growth.