Congratulations! Your child is on the verge of entering the teen phase. You’ve managed to survive the years till now. If only you could get through these teenage years, you’re good!
Who or what is a teenager? A teenager is another word for an adolescent. The teenage years fall between the years of 13 to 19. Like infancy and toddlerhood, the teen phase is also just another developmental stage. During this phase, most teenagers act up and misbehave with their parents. Like most things, “this too shall pass”.
The “teen” phase
The ages of 13 to 19 are an awkward phase for children. This is when they are transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Children are stuck between being neither children nor adults. It is a confusing time for them as well as for the parents.
During this phase, the children are going through various changes – hormonal, physical and mental. This adolescent or teenage phase is usually defined by rebellious behaviour towards parents and other adults.
However, this does not mean that a child will definitely go through all these phases when they become teenagers. This phase of life is not only interesting but is challenging as well. And it is imperative to deal with this phase in the right manner if these children should grow up to become healthy adults.
Dealing with this phase – Parental tips
- Keep yourself informed about what to expect. Read books about teenagers and think back to the time when you were a teenager. If you know what to expect, you will be better equipped to deal with it.
- Talk to children about their bodies and the changes that they can expect/are going through. Answer any questions they might have, truthfully. It is always better they learn about all this from their parents, instead of other sources.
- Learn to empathize. Actually, don’t wait for them to become teens before empathizing. Starting from the beginning is always better. Put yourself in your child’s shoes and try to understand what they are feeling and going through.
- Choose your battles wisely. If your teenagers want to colour their hair purple or dress only in a particular colour, don’t stop them. This is only their way of trying to shock you. At least these methods are temporary! Keep your objections for when they decide to experiment with permanent changes to their bodies and try out alcohol and/or drugs and other similar things.
- Let your teens know what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. With reasonable expectations, your teenager will know that you care for them.
- Keep your children and yourself informed about tough topics such as alcohol and/or drug usage. If you avoid those topics, your teenager might want to experiment for themselves and it may lead them down an unwanted path. Talking about such topics at the beginning itself will keep your child informed and aware.
- Be vigilant and watch out for behaviour that is out of the ordinary. The teenage phase is a time when children go through a lot of changes. Any such ‘change’ that lasts for 6 weeks or more, is a cause for concern and might require professional help.
- Respect your children’s privacy and at the same time monitor what they’re reading and/or viewing on the internet. Allow your children a certain amount of freedom, but continue to be aware of what is happening in their lives. Trust your teenagers, and they, in turn, will trust you as well.
The teenage phase is definitely a difficult time. But you can get through it if you pay attention to your teenager and spend quality time with them.