It is being said that when you understand how the mind of teenagers work, you would know how to parent them. Even though some parents believe teenagers are quite difficult to deal with, they can as well be the sweetest to relate with if we know how to work our ways around them. We had a Parenting expert take us on a journey of enlightenment about how we can understand our teenagers better, this would blow your mind.
When asked about why teenagers might be difficult to understand, our guest explained that, there is a lot of identity crisis going on at the teenage stage. It was explained that, a teenager is no longer a child. However, parents, society and even teenagers themselves believe they are no longer children, but teenagers are also not adults. So they are no longer children, yet they are not ready for adult responsibilities. This is why it is a bit confusing.
The teenage years are transitional periods for teenagers. The prefrontal cortex of a teenager, which is the part of the brain responsible for making rational decisions, is not yet properly developed. Parents already expect teenagers to make rational decisions, bringing them from a child stage to adult stage, and there lies the conflict between the teenagers and the parents when the expectations of parents are not met. The teenage years coincide with when adolescence is happening, where they make career choices, either they are leaving primary school to secondary, junior secondary to senior secondary. There are just so many decisions to make in that stage and teenagers need emotional support from their parents especially in times when they are confused.
You start parenting your teen from when your child is born not when your child turns thirteen. Because if you don’t do the good work when your child is between the ages of 0 to 12, you can’t do no magic when that child clocks thirteen. 0 to 7 years of every child is the imprint stage of the child that is when you can imprint whatever you want the child to learn at that stage even unconsciously. The teenage stage is the modelling stage, it is all the process of growth and be there to help your teens grow.
Being a teenager is a process of growth and teenagers need you to be there to understand them and learn more about them. As a parenting expert, she has come across parents and teenagers, therefore she has heard parent say teens are stressing them, and teens say the same too. It is all about the ignorance of not knowing who we are and what we are supposed to do that would promote the well being of everyone.
What can parents do to be better parents to their teenagers?
Parents need to study their teenager to know what their strengths are. This is because, in the strength of a teenager lies the secrets to dealing with areas where he/she needs to improve. So you can leverage on the strength of that teenager to help him develop where he is weak.
Parents should make their teens understand they are in this together, that they are only helping them become the better version of themselves. Stop making it look like having your teen is giving you stress. Convince them and let them know you are doing what you do for them. This starts from the family having shared values and vision. Have a vision and let them know you are in this together and working towards a goal.
Parents should also realize that parenting is nothing without influence. Our teens are not listening to what we are telling them to do as much as they are watching who we are becoming and what we are telling people around us. It is one thing to tell your teens the kind of life you want them to live, it is another thing to model that life by example. Your life style as a parent should be the kind of life you want your teenagers to live.
Set value based boundaries and enforce them. These values are around what the teen is feeding, I.e. what they are consuming mentally, socially and even as foods. Parent should not allow their teens associate with just any kind of people. There should be family safety rules as regards making friends, viewing television, the kind of food our kids eat and basically all they consume.
Parent of teens should invest in experiences of their teenagers not juts expectations. Simple things as having family rituals, like eating certain meal together every week. We have evidences to show that families that eat together, their children are more resilient, they perform better academically, the can deal with sexual pressures better and they grow to be more wholesome. Because these meal times are avenues teenagers can be themselves. What your children remember their home for is very important, and this can be created by their experiences in the home.