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Remember the confused and gloomy Aamir Khan from “Hum hai rahi pyar ke” when he slaps his nephew in a fit of rage. He feels a lot of care and affection for his nephew, yet is unable to communicate it correctly. For innumerable parents across our country, the condition is nothing different if their children are going through that beautiful yet elusive phase called as adolescence. Especially in India, we are taught to be obedient and follow in the father’s footsteps, never realizing that this might not be an encouraging option for our kids.
Today’s teens have every information made available to them at the click of a button. The parents are always eager to provide them with all the comforts even before the children ask for it. In addition, too much time with school, classes and friends has made the children a little indifferent to their parent’s world. Result – they don’t “depend” on or “ask” their parents. They want to deal with their problems on their own and the parents are left wondering how to “FIT IN” with the requirements of their children.
What parents (especially mothers) need is a methodical solution rather than an emotional overdose. Based on the experience of many of the parents dealing with a similar situation, I have come up with a TTG – a teen talk guide. Follow it to deal with almost all the issues cropping up with your teen champions.
Your children are no more kids. Please get this nailed into your conscious. The boys and girls are not the little babies anymore who could believe any bullshit you told them. They are developing their own opinions based on their knowledge and experience and can also ask you counter questions. Don’t feel shocked. If you really want your children to follow certain rules – then give them a proper explanation with logic, its significance and effects. They will understand and follow.
2. Respect their point of view.
Yes. You have years of experience and can easily understand what your child is saying is rubbish. But if you want him to reach your level of maturity, he has to have his own experience. And before that, RESPECT whatever point of view your child has because it is based on his own tiny little intellect. Don’t dismiss him just because he is younger as that might lead to resentment later.
3. Encourage emotional expression.
There might be numerous occasions when the child will argue, shout, throw tantrums or make unreasonable demands. They are the puberty hormones exploding inside him and most of the times he is himself not aware about why he is having those emotional outbursts. Don’t shout back and reprimand him about his actions. Instead, take him out for a coffee and try to dig out what is bothering him. This will not only reduce his confusion but also help him collect his thoughts.
4. ASK ASK ASK
The child may say one thing one day and next thing you know is he has done exactly the opposite. He is not an idiot. And please don’t say this to him. He is developing his new emotional intelligence and sometimes he doesn’t know what he is going through. Best solution is to ASK him loads of questions. Gentle probing, questioning can help you understand his feelings and also gives him a direction to channelize his emotions. He will be much less confused the next time he faces the same situation.
5. Don’t give examples like Sharma uncle ka beta and Kapoor uncle ki beti.
Many of the Indian parents have this horrible habit of comparing their children with some of their relatives or friends children. However clichéd it may sound but the truth is every child is really unique and comparisons don’t do anything good for him/her. Better STOP COMPARING.
6. Talk like a friend.
This doesn’t mean that the parents should actually talk using all the slang language to sound like a friend. But this means that try to talk to him/her without judging his/her behavior. Control the urge to give advice after every second point. Let him/her finish the point and listen attentively without interruption. The children at this age are very sensitive and feel comfortable with their parents only if they know that they are not being judged and will not be given any Dadima ke nuskhe.
7. Keep up with the latest happenings
Keep a light check on what’s happening in the child’s life. A casual question here and there and a couple of simple calls to their close friends is what all you need. It will help you guess if the child is under any stress or is straying from the right path. It can also aid in understanding any warning signs.
8. Don’t be a “know it all” when actually you are not.
It’s a mystery why parents sometimes want to project themselves as the intelligent super computers who knows everything. Please guys. You are humans and it’s ok if you don’t know sometimes. Please be normal yourself and with your children. They will appreciate it more and will not become pretentious idiots when they grow up.
9. Induce the importance of studies:
Irrespective of the emotional state of the child, what’s utmost important in this phase is the importance of studies. Be strict in this regard if required and time to time try explaining how a slight deviation from the studies can have a long term effect on the life. Come what may, the best should be spared for the education
10. Tell them how much you love them often.
This is especially for the fathers. There is no harm in being emotional and expressing your love and admiration to your children once in a while. Telling them how much you love them will make them reciprocate their love in one way or the other. This makes the bond stronger and deeper and the children become more self-confident.