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Tips for parenting tweens and teens

Can the liveliness and tumultuous nature of teen/tween age be contained?
Last Updated : 29 April 2024, 23:11 IST
Last Updated : 29 April 2024, 23:11 IST

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Every adult who has been through tumultuous teenage years can be considered sufficiently equipped with knowledge and rationale to make informed decisions. Imbibing the best of knowledge by family makes one endowed with the requisite confidence and all-pervasive smartness, especially when talent is included. This results in an overarching sense of superiority, especially concerning one's family.

It also makes one feel elite enough to disassociate oneself from “mundane” family associations. The glaring development has historically taken time to be noticed, evident only when parents are faced with an emotionless or black stare as a response to a query or instruction.

Tweenage seems to be the new teenage, with behavioural patterns creeping in a bit early in the digitised world.

Age brings wisdom to everyone. Adults are equipped with the indubitable asset of experience.

Many situations are familiar terrain—a glaring obvious that is difficult to contain.  How can a parent resist the urge to protect their children from playing with fire? It is a herculean challenge. The suffering inflicted by children is unparalleled and eternal for a parent. How, then, could one intervene or ease the aftermath of the vicious teen/tween age?

Humans will either carve their path or take the beaten path. Teen/tween years are crucial, and there is no one-time fix or solution to issues. Nevertheless, the perseverance of every parent is undisputed. Attribution to destiny is not even the last resort for the relentless pursuit of grooming their children to perfection. This issue has loomed large for every parent over eternity. Can the liveliness and tumultuous nature of teen/tween age be contained? 

Allow for small failures. It is better to fail fast and learn early. Let the teenagers stumble rather than face the wrath of a hard/big fall.

Resist the urge to solve a problem: Given a problem statement, it is intuitive that one always jumps to solve it. Parents have better knowledge and experience, but it is important to teach the children to fish rather than catch the fish for them so that their needs will be served for a lifetime.

All they need is an ear: When teenagers express their concerns or emotions, they do not expect a reciprocation or a splendid layout of individual opinion or 'gyaan'. They are not looking for solutions but just to be heard.

No glaring parent bias: While teenagers struggle to 'fit in' to established standards or societal norms, it is important to reinforce their confidence. Parents' obvious expression of approval or flattery only makes them harder on their self-perception.

Empowerment: While silence is not the best medicine for teen/tween age issues, rather than just agonising, a gentle nudge to think of alternatives or possible resolutions will go a long way in helping reinforce self-confidence among kids and empower them.

Exploit the power of 'nudging': While parents should grow to be friends towards their tween/teenage kids, 'parenthood' is always an undisputedly irreplaceable responsibility. Simple nudges from parents reduce mental anxiety and help pre-adults make informed choices that are 'their decisions' taken as 'adults'.

Irrespective of how a child turns around his life, parents love them. It is not easy to resist the urge to equip children with everything the parent can. However, as Warren Buffet said, “I want to leave my children enough so that they can do anything, but not so much that they can do nothing.”

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Published 29 April 2024, 23:11 IST

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