Develop a friendly relationship with your teenagers
Peer parenting could be the answer to the conflict between parents and adolescents.
SPENT TIME: Get to know your kids. Photo: Shaju John
When parents tell me that their teenage offspring have suddenly become very undisciplined, do not give heed to their advice and react aggressively I know exactly what they mean. Examination of the teens usually reveal the high level of stress, along with milder forms of anxiety and depression mainly attributed to the lack of understanding and support from the parents.
The troublesome adolescent years have been a documented topic of societal concern for centuries. Plato characterised the adolescents of his era as argumentative and easily excitable, while Aristotle found them impulsive, prone to excess and exaggeration, and lacking self-restraint.
The anxiety experienced by parents is more than matched by the periods of uncertainty, turmoil and unhappiness experienced by the adolescent. Even though parents may sometimes start to feel that they have failed, helping their children grow through adolescence is the top priority of every parent.
On the other hand most teenagers actually like their parents and feel that they get on well. They want their parents to be clear and consistent about rules and boundaries, at the same time, limit their indulgence on their growing freedom and ability to decide for themselves. The easiest way of approaching the situation is peer parenting i.e. "treat adolescents as new born adults not as older children".
The key is developing a friendly near-equal relationship, which usually exists between an experienced person and a new entrant in the same cadre in an organisation setting aside the traces of jealously. Give them guarded freedom to explore life, take decisions but make the home an emotionally comfortable place, where they are taken seriously, they will be protected, cared for and which makes them feel safe to come back. It is also necessary that the parents have clear understanding among themselves about their basic values and rules and support each other in applying them. If you want them to be affectionate, kind, generous and understanding with the next generation try to be like that yourself.
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