In sync with your growing teen


In sync with your growing teen

So, you think you are the busiest parent in the entire cosmos; more organized than the archetypal ant at work; a paragon of efficiency when it comes to being both - a provider and a caretaker at the same time. And yet, utterly clueless about how to deal with a brash and a difficult teenager back home? Time to hit the ‘pause’ button of your life really hard! Put on your thinking cap and rack your brains. If still baffled, ask yourself, “Do I spend enough time with my teen?” Crack goes the puzzle as you get your answer - “Probably not!”

In this day and age, working parents are slaving away at the office at the expense of spending quality time with their children. The increasingly busy lifestyles of both parents and teens can be a challenge for spending quality time together. We as parents need to develop skills that are significantly different and arguably more complex than they were three decades ago. The reality is that teenagers today are torn between asserting themselves as adults and being children who still need reassurance, as they are very vulnerable (although they may pretend otherwise).

If you are not sensible enough to reach out to them, nurture, and reassure them, it is likely that they will pull away from you and try to meet their needs elsewhere, which could make them more vulnerable to pressure from peers. This often leads to bad associations and complicated situations that could dramatically affect the entire family. Thus, the reasons for bonding with your teenager are greater than just finding an enjoyable way to spend time together. Modern day parents must make extra efforts to stay connected with their teenagers. By breaking out of the child-parent communication mold sometimes, you would be modeling healthy interactions for your teen's future relationships with colleagues, friends, and family.

Communication breakdown has been cited as a major cause of parent-teen conflict over the years. So, let the child talk freely with you with no fear of judgment. If they don't want to talk, that's fine too. When they really want to share their thoughts, they will come to you.

Let us step back a little to see where it all begins. As soon as the umbilical cord between the mother and her baby is cut at birth, the physical attachment to the mother may cease but the psychological and emotional attachment begins. And this provides a foundation for our young ones to thrive. A firm bond between mother and child affects reactions later in life. It reflects how well children do in school, how they build relationships with friends and how well they react to stressful situations.

Studies have found that children who have formed a strong bond with their parents are sociable and gregarious. Those children lacking a secure bond are more likely to be antisocial, withdrawn, hostile, and aggressive. Spending quality time with the teen helps parents and teens stay connected and can drastically improve teen behavioral issues.

Why scour far and wide for a worthy example to substantiate the case in point? Let me dissert my own case. While in a full-time employment when my son was a toddler, our inability to devote quality time to him made him an archetypal asocial child. He hated anyone and everyone who dared to come close enough to strike a conversation with his parents. He would go to the extent of displaying physical aggression to keep people off limits from his ‘nonpareil’ mom and dad. He understandably was a highly insecure child who craved our time and attention which was scarce and sporadic at best. It was only after I quit my full-time vocation and became a hands-on mother that he gradually transformed from a recluse to a more affable child. While I worked from home there on, to undo what could have been the most costly mistake of my life, deluging him with all my time and attention, he grew into a gregarious and convivial teen as I see him today. He is the undisputed ‘jokesmith’ of his class by his own admission, and I certainly am not complaining!
It is an accepted fact that bonding develops through interaction. If scouting for ideas, you could choose from the following list or devise your own innovative ways of spending quality time with your teens:

* Reading with your child
* Playing a board game
* Watching movies together
* Listening to favourite music together
* Laughing at silly things on YouTube together
* Visiting a coffee shop together
* Taking post dinner walks
* Going for a drive together
* Go shopping at their favourite mall
* Having them help you at home with cleaning, re-arranging the house, etc.
* Cooking with your teenager or teaching to cook favourite dish
* Renting movies and staying up late on weekends
* Volunteering for a noble cause with your teenager or just randomly going on a food distribution spree.
* Listening intently to what your child has to say about the life issues she/he may be facing. Inquiring about their hopes, wishes, interests, passions and aspirations
* Connecting over family dinner every night, which can be a great time to ask questions about your child's day without interruption.

There are myriad possibilities for doing fun things together. Although teens may not know how to express their appreciation, they won't forget the special times, especially the one-on-one times that you spend with them.

Teenagers, by nature, are driven to separate themselves from their parents and become individual, autonomous beings. They are no longer children yet not accepted as adults, their hormones are exploding, they're trying desperately to figure out who they are, what they believe and what their capabilities are. Though they are seeking independence, most teens are not emotionally ready to cut themselves off from a family that they love. At such a juncture, spending one-on-one time with teens-in-turmoil will not only have a profoundly positive effect on their behavior but also help you develop an unbreakable and deep-rooted bond with them.

A crucial afterthought: no matter how busy you may be or how wound up with chores, always remember to hug your children every day, preferably just as they are leaving for school and at the end of the day to let them know that you love them deeply.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get the top news in your inbox
Comments (+)