How to Raise Teenagers Successfully, A Personal Experience
Those Teenage Years
A person looks at his best during his teenage. Raising teenagers is a pleasureful task too. The understanding of the characteristics of teenagers helps parents to deal with them easily. The tips mentioned here might come of some use for parents to raise them successfully. Though it involves some dedication, it gives you immense pleasure to be in the company of a young boy/girl full of freshness, dreams, vigor, appearance, cheerful spirit, etc. The best part comes when you see them grow into successful men/women in later life.
What Is Teenage? When Does It Start?
A teenager is a young person whose age falls within the range of 13-19 years. They are called teenagers because their age number ends with"teen".
In traditional societies, they used to hold a ceremony to mark the change from childhood to adulthood. Teenage is the stage when a boy or a girl would have got puberty. For a girl, puberty is marked by the onset of menstruation. Usually, it starts at the age of 12-13. For boys, puberty starts at 11-12 years. Boys complete puberty at the age of 16-17.
Though raising a kid starts from birth, the challenging time for parents arrives when the kid reaches teenage. I know all teenagers are not severely affected by this confusing stage of life. The problem faced by the parents of teenage kids nowadays is a bit higher when compared with the olden days' parents. Especially, teenagers living in the city area show more of such problem behaviors when compared to the village teenagers.
Characteristics of Teenagers:
Teenage is a special period of growth and development filled with energy, enthusiasm, excitement, curiosity, and new experiences. No two teens are the same. They experience their teenage uniquely. All teenagers go through hormonal and physical changes that help in developing a sense of identity, self-concept, and independence. Parents, family, cultural factors, and surroundings play a significant role in teenage development.
1. Teenagers are Rebellious:
Teenage rebellion is a commonly found characteristic. It lasts up to six years that include mood swings and defiant behaviors, says Dr. Barton D Schmitt. He reported it in the article "Adolescents: Dealing with Normal Rebellion" on Children's Physician Network's website.
Though all teens do not show rebellious behavior, many become arrogant, argumentative, resistant to authority, and try to show up with their self-concept and identity. Their undesirable behavior affects parents, family, and relatives negatively. This is the stage when they think they can be independent and stay away from parents, establishing self-concept and a sense of identity. During teenage, many are seen engaging in emotional verbal conflicts with the parents or others.
My personal experience is, teenage boys tend to be more rebellious than teenage girls. Sometimes, handling teenage boys becomes challenging. They show so much stupidity and are not even ready to accept any advice from parents or elders. Only the passage of time makes the point clear to them.
2.Teenagers are Energetic, Risk-Taking and Adventurous:
The sleep patterns of teenagers are different. They like to stay up till late at night or prefer to get up late in the morning. Incomplete frontal lobe development makes it difficult for them to control their impulses, according to The U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Teenagers show adventurous behavior. They take risks in their daily activities.
They are mostly fun-seeking and excitement-loving. They like to see changes and hate the monotonous pattern of life. They want to see beautiful things, such as listen to good music, watch movies, eat tasty food, etc. Their risk-taking behavior sometimes gives way to overlook the potential dangers involved in many activities such as unprotected sex, cigarette smoking, experimenting with drugs, etc.
3.Teenagers Mature Physically and Sexually:
A significant growth spurt is observed in a teenager between the ages of 13 and 18. The hormonal level increases at that age. For a teenage girl, the estrogen level increases. Girls fill out physically and get a radiant appearance. They start menstruation, gain weight, and have the tendency to grow almost 10 inches tall during this period.
Teenage boys also experience hormonal changes and begin to produce more testosterone. The physical changes commonly seen are facial hair, broken voice, and significant weight gain. They can grow up to 20 inches tall during this age.
4.Teenagers Want to Spend More Time with Friends than With Family or May Prefer to Stay Alone
Teenagers start spending more time in the company of their peers or with their friends than with family members. Sometimes, they want to be alone. The reason may be, during this stage, they try to find a way to live life independently. They may feel comfortable in the company of the same age group to discuss or learn to take independent decisions.
I have seen a teenager locking himself/herself in a room and listening to music or watching a movie. They want to be alone at times. I observed that they will be always thinking about something.
5.Teenagers are Prone to Peer Pressure
Peer pressure affects teenagers badly. A study by researchers at Columbia State University shows that teenagers are six times more likely to drink alcohol if their friends often drink alcohol.
Social pressure is high during the teenage years. They want to be accepted by peers as a friend. Sometimes, even though he/she knows the consequences of smoking, he/she might start smoking with his friends/peers just due to social pressure.
During teenage, children hate to say 'no' to their peers. By saying 'no' they believe they will be looked down upon by their peers. If they could not do the task that others do, good or bad, hurts them emotionally. They feel low self-esteem due to this.
Most of the times teenagers feel depressed not because they are not having what they want but to show their peers that even they have certain things that others have. The severity of this feeling differs from teenager to teenager. The peer pressure may be social pressure or may involve any other pressure like listening to music, having a partner of the opposite sex, having gadgets, financial capacity, etc.
What is the Role and Responsibility of the Parent in Raising a Teenager
Be calm and patient, occasionally guide them
Yes. Many parents indeed find it difficult to raise a teenager, especially if he/she is a difficult teenager to handle. As a parent, at least one of the parents, either mother or father should devote their time and patience in raising such children. Parental guidance and support soothe such a teenager in difficult situations even though a teenager doesn't admit it.
Always be prepared to listen to their problems, pressures, and difficulties if they are suffering emotionally. Give them advice as to how they can react in such situations. Sometimes, they show their reluctance even to listen to your advice. But, I have observed that they will follow at least a few pieces of advice when the need arises. Don't leave them to their thinking because they act stupid at times. As a parent, be patient and try to make clear the facts. Though the initial reaction is negative, the teenager realizes the gist after some time.
Be a role model:
Parents should understand the fact that the kid is a teenager now and is undergoing many physical and emotional changes due to increasing hormone levels and due to speedy growth. Most of the difficulties in handling a teenager are mainly due to his/her teenage characteristics. You should be optimistic that if you guide and support him properly, he/she will grow into a responsible person after crossing teenage. In a majority of the cases, it becomes true.
This is the time when parents have to show themselves as role models for their teenage children. Make them realize your strength as a person in the family and society. A teenager silently observes his parents and the surrounding environment. Be friendly with your son or daughter. Even if he/she shows arrogant or disrespectful behavior, insist on the right behavior with affection. Scolding the kid may increase the turbulence. Play games, go shopping, take him/her for a long drive, etc. at times and have fun with your teenage kid.
Take your teenage son/daughter to a restaurant once in a while, either to celebrate a birthday or any happy occasion like that. Teenagers like to eat tasty and flavorful food. Give importance to their likes and dislikes. Take their opinion in the household matters and make them do simple home chores along with their studies. This will increase their sense of responsibility and self-worth.
Guide and help your teenager to fulfill his/her dreams:
Teenagers dream things to happen even if it is hard to achieve. They mostly exhibit positive behavior. Just they don't like to be compared with others. Some parents are nagging and comparing their kids to other kids. Maybe to some extent, you can do that to boost his performance, but it should not be too much to hurt his feelings. Give him support and strength to show his capacity rather than make him be another person.
If your teenage son/daughter wants to learn driving, help him/her in that. Make him understand things calmly. By giving your company, you can build a good rapport with your teenage son/daughter.
To sum up, I always believe that to live with a teenage daughter/son is a heavenly gift. You will enjoy seeing their energy level, freshness, thinking pattern, self-confidence, etc. It makes you feel young in their company.
At times, as a parent, you may feel shattered seeing your teenage son/daughter's behavior. Don't worry. My experience is, most teenage problems disappear once he/she turns 20. He will start making responsible decisions and will start taking life seriously. His thinking becomes stable. Just try to make it easy for your son/daughter to pass this phase without any major trouble. Believe me, teenage is a passing phase. The evidence makes it sure that the majority of the problematic-teenagers have turned into great people in their later life. As a parent, you can take the help of the child's elder sibling if any, to set right the problem. Teenagers mostly like to listen to their elder siblings than his parent. All the best! Happy Parenting!!