How to Teach a Willful Adolescent to Be More Independent While Maintaining Your Cool
A teenager who wants to be their own person? Good! Here’s what to do about it now.
It is common for teenagers to push the boundaries of their comfort zones in order to gain more freedom. As a child, you may have had the temptation to defy your parents’ authority. It’s totally normal for kids and their parents to engage in a tug-of-war, but it may be unpleasant for everyone. There is a natural desire among teenagers to establish a distinct identity that is distinct from that of their family. It can be difficult to let our teenagers take the reins, but it is essential if they are to develop resilience and self-esteem.
Despite the fact that we parents of teenagers can rationally understand this knowledge, our feelings tell us something different. It’s hard for me to accept when my kids push the boundaries since it feels like they’re rejecting me. And to hear it from the person you cherish most in the world hurts even more. In order to get our children to where they need to be, we must put on a brave face and keep going.
Behavioural Issues That Affect Teenagers
As your child grows up, you and your youngster are bound to come to blows. Depending on the child and the parent, the exact location is different. When it comes to deciding what they want to do with their lives and how they want to spend their money—and that’s just for starters—young people have a wide range of choices to make. According to my experience as a mother of three high school and college-aged children, the boundaries (and buttons) that youngsters press are unique to each child’s personality, and even change depending on their mood at any given time. My husband, on the other hand, seemed to have no idea what was keeping me awake at night (who the next week would be in a tailspin over something I saw as inconsequential).
As a result, one of the most prevalent roadblocks is realizing that you are no longer the most important person in their lives. Feeling cut off from your teen’s life can be a hard pill to swallow. It used to be that children looked to their parents for guidance and approval in nearly every aspect of their lives when they were younger, but that is now becoming less common. It is usual for teenagers to seek counsel and support from friends and love partners, which can make parents wonder if they still know their child. As teenagers get increasingly self-reliant, they tend to spend less time with their families, which can both break your heart and cause you anxiety. As a result, they’re not as close to you as they used to be. They tend to become more evasive, especially when it comes to their friends and their plans.
Assisting Young People to Move Forward
Of course, just because you’ve established effective boundaries, your work is done. As you guide your budding adult on the road to freedom, you and your loved one continue to talk.
Utilize the influence of others. Don’t jump to the conclusion that your child’s pals can’t possibly be of any assistance to you. There are several ways that teenagers gain emotional independence, and one of the most important ways is through the support of their peers. Ask your kid what one of their best friends would do in a similar situation and why.
Realize when you’re at risk. When a kid is trying to find his or her own identity, the struggles that ensue may be fueled by your own feelings. First and foremost, I’d advise the parents to accept the sadness they feel as they watch their ‘baby’ grow up. Parents sometimes struggle with letting go of unresolved feelings of guilt and shame about their parenting blunders. That’s exactly how I feel. It’s frightening to realize that the mistakes you made will be “permanent” as you watch the window of your child’s childhood close. I wish I had more time to correct the mistakes I’ve made. There is, of course, always the chance to “set things right.” That’s easy to forget when your baby is 6 feet 1 inch tall.
But your child will always need you, simply in a variety of different ways. They needed you in a different way at age 5 than they did at age 10, and again at age 15. So, as your child develops and changes, so must you as well. In order to more easily “let go,” you should gradually give your adolescent more responsibility. You and your child will both suffer if you resist allowing your youngster to take charge of his or her own life.
To help each other, share your difficulties. As a teenager, life has altered dramatically since the introduction of the smartphone. If parents are aware of the new difficulties kids face, such as social media, cyberbullying, and sexting, “When I was your age” can still be a useful strategy. These challenges, such as nervousness about your appearance and feeling like a social outcast, are nonetheless prevalent even when they’re played out on Snapchat rather than the schoolyard.
Make yourself vulnerable. In many cases, a parent’s reaction to events stems from dread. To help your kid understand why you’re denying them a trip to the city, explain to them what it is that you’re afraid of and what’s making you say no. As a result, you become more open to attack, which is generally regarded as a sign of weakness. However, it works to your advantage. The more vulnerable you are with your adolescent, the easier it will be for them to express their fears and the reasoning behind them.
Your teen will benefit from time spent with you. This may sound apparent, but it’s a time-tested resource that parents need to tap into despite its simplicity. Teens don’t actually dislike spending time with their parents. Only minor changes are required. It doesn’t take long for a parent and teen to form a stronger bond when they spend just 20 minutes a week engaging in activities like baking, going on a photo safari, or even going to the gym together.
Your adolescent’s drive to be independent is just on pace. It demonstrates that he is growing in his knowledge of the world and his role within it, as well as in his self-assurance. You’ll be there for him, cheering him on, providing support, and catching him when he falls. Give him as many opportunities as possible to take charge of his own life so that he can practice the skills he needs to develop. You still feel like you’ve lost your position in your child’s life? I’m confident in saying that we do, at least from where I’m standing. I’m beginning to realize (gasp!) that no matter how old our children get, our jobs never actually cease. I’m not sure we’d prefer it any other way.