Adolescence can be a turbulent phase for your child who is going through a rollercoaster ride of emotions and experiences.
Your love and support will help him through this difficult time.
The Importance of Affection
Everybody needs affection. This is especially true for your teenager, even if he appears to dislike your genuine expressions of love. Research shows that children who receive lots of love and affection grow up to become well-adjusted adults. A hug or a smile can really help when your child has had a bad day, even when he is not ready to discuss his issues with you. The trick is
to balance your duties as a parent and his aspirations as an
How teenagers can be difficult at times
Your teenager may show one or more of the following symptoms, typical of his age:
He appears to be indifferent and uncaring.
He acts as if he does not need you, and demands personal space.
He prefers doing things his own way and deliberately defies your orders.
He does not like to spend time with you or other family members, preferring to be with his friends instead.
He wants to impress his friends by acting like an adult, sometimes adopting risky behaviour such as smoking and drinking.
He goes through several mood swings ranging from depression to anger.
Things Parents Should Avoid
Your teenager may often be embarrassed by your "nurturing" attitude in public. Here are some points you should keep in mind:
Do not treat him like a child
and "talk down." He is now trying to be an adult and demands to be
treated as such. Using baby language or treating him like a baby will
only embarrass him.
Reserve pet names only for the home. No matter how
adorable it sounds to you, calling him by his pet name is likely to
amuse his friends and irk him, as they may tease him about it.
Avoid cuddling, kissing, or hugging in front of his friends. He has a reputation to protect, and he feels displaying physical affection, such as holding hands, will dent it.
Avoid teasing him, asking him embarrassing questions, or revealing any habits he views as embarrassing in front of his friends or relatives.
Avoid using harsh disciplinary methods. It is normal for your teenager
to assert his freedom now. Teenagers have little respect for authority,
so using a dictatorial approach will only alienate them further.
Bond with Your Teenager
Teenagers are, after all, children, and do make mistakes. Your duty is to provide a strong emotional support system to your child and timely guidance when he needs it the most. Here are some strategies to help you do that.
Be there when he needs you: Long periods of parents' absence can make your child
feel unloved or unwanted. If you are away too often, be accessible to
your children via phone, email, or any other means of communication.
Stay involved: Ask your child about his studies, sports, other activities, and friends. Get to know his friends
and encourage them to spend time at your home. Let him know that you
are interested in his life. Listen patiently without passing judgement
when your child
talks. Offer him guidance when he needs it and asks for it but do not
overdo it. The idea is to help him find his own solutions.
Respect him as an individual: Too often, parents fail to see that their child
has grown up to be a self-respecting individual. Involve him in making
decisions even if it something as small as deciding on the movie at the
weekend. Ask for his opinion on household matters. If you have to turn
down his decisions or opinions, then offer constructive feedback on why
another option is more suitable, without discouraging him.
Set rules: Be firm and consistent about your expectations from your teenager without resorting to harsh methods. Explain how the rules are for his good. Let him know you care for him.
Plan activities for your family: Family get-togethers can be a great opportunity to bond with your son. However, choose an activity or a hobby that your child
enjoys. For example, he may not enjoy the trip to the zoo anymore and
may probably prefer watching a cricket match or the latest movie in
Display your affection: Though your son does not seem to like those hugs and kisses, he still wants a constant
reassurance that you love him. A simple pat on the back for a job well
done or an occasional hug is necessary. Kiss him on top of the head
instead of his cheeks. Say "I love you" softly in his ears just before he goes to sleep.
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- The Indiaparenting Team