Rebel teenagers: 6 tips and reflections for parents in distress
"How this son hurts me". This is what a mother told me during therapy, in relation to what she was living in the face of her son's adolescence. And this is not an isolated case, we often hear the complaint of parents sometimes surprised, sometimes disappointed and in most cases not knowing how to act in front of those who were their children and now they are silent young people, rebels, angry, questioners, who challenge us, and sometimes even see us as the enemy .
Adolescence is a complicated stage and as parents it is normal that we can see ourselves a little overwhelmed. Although we have read on the subject, and despite putting the best possible efforts to inform us, when the time comes when our child is a teenager we can suffer anxiety when having to face this new situation.
Rebel teenagers: a guide for parents in distress
As a result of the workshops that I have given to parents, I have been able to collect some concepts that I hope will be useful for them. The focus is on what we can do, what is in our hands, not complain about their attitudes and try to modify them, which only brings frustration, because nobody can change the other overnight.
On the other hand, if I transform my attitudes and become more conscious, I am taking the first step. I clarify that this does not mean abandoning the limits and the consequences that are necessary and would be the subject of another reflection.It may interest you: "10 common symptoms that adolescents with depression present"
Six tips to improve communication with adolescent children
To try to provide useful tools to parents who have problems living with their adolescent, I propose a series of points that will allow us to lay the foundations for better communication and interaction with them .
1. I unlink my personal story from his
As parents, we must be able to disassociate our personal history from that of our adolescent son, disconnecting what is ours from what is his, thus avoiding making him carry a backpack with added pressure . It is vital that we understand it as it is and that we take responsibility for our own lives, and let him walk his path. As parents we have to try to facilitate that the adolescent son develops his life independently and living his own experiences. This will make him learn by himself and adapt better to the social environment. It is not necessary, then, that as parents we add anxiety or fears to the children.
2. I avoid comparing it with others
Another essential point. Our teenage son has the right to travel his way in life according to his preferences and his own decisions, and parents we must support and respect him so that he is able to successfully address his own experiences . Putting labels on your personal preferences or comparing them with other people not only does not encourage you to improve, but it can put a heavy burden on your self-concept. We must be able to make a constant effort to respect their way of being, even in the case that as parents we think that their attitude is not the most appropriate. Of course, this implies not wishing that our son resembles another person, constantly comparing him with that high school classmate who gets better grades, or any other reflection that may undermine his self-esteem.
3. I understand your socialization guidelines
This is where our capacity as parents comes in to show us flexibility and positive. While our son shows a respectful and cordial behavior, it is not necessary that we press it to be socialized based on our standards or those of the near environment . Parents who are constantly worried about whether their children "leave them bad" in front of other people, simply act based on rigid and conventional socialization parameters. Showing our son that we care a lot about what they think about us (through his attitude, to make matters worse) is a way of telling him that we feel ashamed of him. Fighting to act as we want to act alone will cause the relationship to wear out and for the adolescent not to adapt freely to the social environment.
4. Beware of the idea that "he will achieve what I did not do"
Our personal expectations regarding what we want our teen to be in the future can be very limiting for their personal development. We must understand what our true motivations are with regard to the future of our son, and from there decide how demanding we should be with him. In any case, we must avoid that the weight of our expectations and desires fall on him . Our desires and reflections on what we have achieved in life or what we want to achieve are personal and non-transferable, and it is not right that we translate these desires to our children.They must go their own way and fight for their goals.
5. Everyone must learn from their mistakes
Most parents are not able to recognize that we feel validated and qualified through our children. And, although it is difficult to recognize, it is the first step to understand many things and improve our relationship with them. If our son is wrong, he must assume its consequences , although that hurts us and we feel in the duty to help him. We will always be there to give them the necessary support, but the children need us to give them the necessary space to commit these mistakes that will allow them to learn, become aware of their responsibilities in life and mature.
6. Emotions must not boycott me
Self-observation must be a fundamental pillar in our reflection on the attitudes and measures we take as parents. We must try to see a little beyond the tangible and identify our emotions and feelings. In this way, when we feel blocked or distressed, we can reflect and detect what we are feeling, and how to manage that emotion . Achieving that self-observation is a habit in our daily lives is especially useful in the interaction with adolescent children, especially to identify when they put us to the test and show an assertive and relaxed attitude, and therefore control the situation. In this way we can act in the way we think is more accurate and necessary, and not from reactivity or anger.
As a closing ...
I hope that these small tips and reflections can be useful when understanding the adolescence of our children as a process necessary for its development at all levels . A process, that of adolescence, that we must accompany intelligently. We must understand that adolescents need to detach themselves from parental protection and begin to be independent to become, in the near future, responsible adults with their own goals in life.