Rebellious teens: 6 tips and thoughts for struggling parents

“How this son hurts me.” This is what a mother told me during therapy, in relation to what she was going through in the face of her son’s adolescence. And this is not an isolated case, we often hear the complaint of parents sometimes surprised, sometimes disappointed and in most cases not knowing how to act in front of those who were once their children and who are now silent, rebellious, angry, questioning young people, those who challenge us, and sometimes even see us as the enemy.

Adolescence is a complicated stage and as parents it is normal for us to look a little overwhelmed. Although we have read about it, and despite our best efforts to educate ourselves, when the time comes for our child to be a teenager, we may suffer from anxiety about having to deal with this new situation.

Rebellious teens: a guide for struggling parents

Thanks to the workshops I gave to parents, I was able to put together some concepts that I hope will be useful to them. The focus is on what we can do, what is in our hands, not on complaining about their attitudes and trying to change them, which only leads to frustration, because no one can change the other overnight.

Instead, if I transform my attitudes and become more aware, I take the first step. I would like to point out that this does not mean abandoning the limits and consequences that are necessary and would be the subject of another reflection.

You might be interested in: “10 Common Symptoms Of Teens With Depression”

Six tips to improve communication with adolescents

To try to provide useful tools for parents who are having difficulty living with their teenager, I propose a series of points that will allow us to establish the bases for better communication and interaction with them..

1. detach my personal story from his

As parents, we must be able to detach our personal history from that of our adolescent, by detaching what is ours from what is his, thus preventing it from being loaded with an additional pressure backpack. It is essential that we come to understand it as it is, to take responsibility for our own life and to let it follow its path. As parents, we must try to make it easier for the adolescent to develop his life independently and to have his own experiences. This will make him learn on his own and adapt better to the social environment. We don’t need to add anxiety or fear to our children as parents.

2. I avoid comparing him to others

Another essential point. Our teenage son has the right to follow his own path in life according to his own preferences and decisions, and his parents we must support and respect him so that he can successfully address his own experiences. Putting labels on your personal preferences or comparing them to other people not only does not encourage you to improve yourself, but can also place a heavy burden on your self-image. We must be able to make a constant effort to respect their way of being, even if, as parents, we think their attitude is not the most appropriate. Of course, that means not wanting our child to look like another person, constantly comparing themselves to that high school classmate getting better grades, or anything else that might lower their self-esteem.

3. I understand your socialization guidelines

This is where our ability as parents to be flexible and positive comes into play. As long as our child demonstrates respectful and cordial behavior, we don’t need to force him to socialize according to our standards or those of the immediate environment. Parents who constantly worry about whether their children are “wrong” in front of other people are simply acting on the basis of rigid, conventional parameters of socialization. Showing our child that we care a lot about what he thinks of us (through his attitude, for more insight) is one way of making him understand that we are ashamed of him. Fighting for him to act the way we want him to act will only drain the relationship and prevent the teenager from freely adjusting to the social environment.

4. Beware of the idea “let him do what I didn’t do”

Our personal expectations about what we want our teen to be in the future can be very limited to their personal development. We need to understand what our real motivations are for our child’s future and, from there, decide how demanding we should be with him. Anyway, we must prevent the weight of our expectations and desires from falling to him. Our desires and thoughts about what we have accomplished in life or what we want to accomplish are personal and non-transferable, and it is not right for us to pass these aspirations on to our children. They have to go their own way and fight for their goals.

5. Everyone must learn from their mistakes

Most parents cannot recognize that we feel validated and qualified by our children. And while it’s hard to recognize, it’s the first step in understanding many things and improving our relationship with them. If our child is wrong, he will have to bear the consequences, Although it hurts us and we feel obligated to help. We will always be there to give them the support they need, but the children need us to give them the space they need to make the mistakes that will allow them to learn, to become aware of their responsibilities in life. life and mature.

6. Emotions should not boycott me

Self-observation should be a fundamental pillar of our thinking about the attitudes and actions we take as parents. We have to try to see a little beyond what is tangible and identify our emotions and feelings. That way when we feel stuck or anxious, we will be able to reflect and detect what we are feeling and how to deal with this emotion. Making self-observation a habit in our daily life is particularly useful for interacting with adolescents, especially for identifying when we are being tested and showing an assertive and relaxed attitude, and therefore controlling the situation. This way, we will be able to act in the way we think is most precise and necessary, and not out of reactivity or anger.

As a closing …

I hope these little tips and thoughts can help understand our children’s adolescence as a process necessary for its development in all areas. A process, that of adolescence, that must be intelligently supported. We need to understand that adolescents need to break away from parental care and start to be independent in order to become, in the near future, responsible adults with their own goals in life.

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