Who doesn’t remember the angst and suffering that comes with every teenager’s attitude and behaviour? That part of life may never change, but there are strategies to help you deal with your adolescent child’s ever-changing hormones.
First, think back to how you felt at your child’s age. Were you happy? Confident? Statistically, you probably weren’t. And today’s teens arguably have more social stressors than generations past.
In addition to dealing with raging hormones, they’re also often subjected to a life on social media display, where one’s self-confidence is tied to how many “likes” they get. Beyond that, there’s an increase in the intensity of bullying and increased pressure to succeed. Adolescents are caught in a strange place between being children and adults, between wanting to establish independence from their parents, but also win their approval. It’s a tough spot to be in!
Let your kids know that you went through what they’re going through and came out the other side. Acknowledge the challenges of adolescence and let them know that “this too shall pass.”
Foster and build your child’s self-confidence and self-reliance.
Give them the space they need.
Kids go through a lot in a day of school and may come home wanting to be alone. Instead of taking that as an insult (and adding tension to the relationship), allow them that space to decompress.
Make dinnertime your time to connect and find out how the day was.
Keep the conversation light and comfortable, no interrogations (and no electronics!). Your teenager’s attitude and behaviour will improve with that space and freedom.
You’ll also want to keep an eye out for clues of a troubled teen. Signs might include extreme weight gain or loss, sudden personality changes, plummeting grades at school, signs of drug or alcohol use. Signs like that would call for closer attention or intervention.
Finally, focus on the bigger picture. Raising a moral, competent and compassionate child is important work! There will be plenty of bumps in the road.
Focus on building a strong and supportive relationship with your child, and instilling good values, you’ll (both) get through it!
Your teenager’s attitude and behaviour will be a distant memory in no time.