TEEN REVOLT

Teen revoltGradually, as his fourteenth year approached, my son Rohan was no longer involved in any family interaction or outing. Dining out was just out of the question. He would rather stay home and fix a sandwich. Going to the mall, the store, out for ice cream or any activity that constituted a family outing was taboo. In fact, he adamantly opposed any such family fun. My husband took the rebellion in stride, while I found something inherently unsettling about it. This is the most common problem that mothers face when their son enters adolescence.

Our advice to you is let your son/daughter be. It is quite natural. When your child enters teenage he/ she faces this phase in life when it is best to leave them alone. But that does not mean you completely avoid them. Always ensure them that you love them and you are there for them. Teenagers expect respect and concern from their parents. This is an age when they are susceptible to vices very quickly and thus you have to keep that careful and cautious look out. If you experience anything abnormal or strange in your teen confront him with care and gentleness. Your teen may just be scared to tell you or discuss his problem with you, so don't be forceful and demanding. Don't be mad at him. It takes lot of courage to tell the truth. Be patient with your teen. Treat him as a friend and always ensure him that you love him and care for him.

Remember that you most likely did some things wrong along the way. It can be helpful to share that. Why should your child be open with you if there is not some reciprocity? That includes sharing some of your current anxieties or mistakes. We all mess up. We all have our vulnerabilities. We all seek safety and security. In that way, you and your teen have much in common. Believe in your child, even when he or she is struggling, or simply not meeting your expectations. Try to see the world through their eyes and understand what they are thinking about. This means being able to be available when they are ready to talk but also creating opportunities for that to happen, which means some one-to-one time doing an activity together. Do chores together, run errands together, ask for help on something interesting you are doing. Teens tend to talk more when doing something with you, especially while in the car and when no one else is around. When you do have that moment that you're allowed into their private space, be interested rather than critical. Don't use it as an opportunity to nag or complain.

Encourage some fantasizing: If you could do anything you'd like with your time, what would you like to do? What do you think you are best at? What do you picture doing in a couple of years? Sure, you make get the traditional, "Nothing." response. But if you've been listening and watching, you may be able to discover an interest that they are afraid to express because they don't believe they have the skill to do it or that their interest will be taken seriously. The next step of easing these children into the world requires finding a place for them to make a meaningful contribution. If possible, build off the interest that they have shared with you.



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