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Understanding Teenagers

Dealing with teen years can be confusing for both the teenagers and their parents in a same way. Very often at about 15 years of age, many teens go through a tough period of being introspective and moody. It is a time when they seem to start thinking about how they feel about themselves, and figuring out how this perception may match or mismatch with what others think of them. It is all part of growing up and maturing. Most of teens are building their self-image and will often work through this by the age of 16 or 17.

Very often teenagers are treated as if they were just grown up children. Most parents are convinced today that children are their property and should obey their commands without saying a single word. This may work with toddlers but as bringing up young adults the role of parents is to assist a child into becoming an independent and responsible adult. Therefore, this will never happen if a teenager is not allowed to make some decisions on his own. This is an exact time for them to become themselves and make their own decisions. The role of the parents must drastically change from that of the protector and keeper, to the role of the friend, confident and guide, as a child grows older.

Teenagers today are often thought of as insecure, stubborn, and disrespectful. Even the most caring parents frequently misunderstand their kids. Indeed, teenagers tend to be very complex, but they are also not impossible to understand. Not many people take into consideration that not every teenager has in mind to upset the society. Few parents actually realize that the teenage years are crucial times when it comes to learning to be more responsible and dependent. And as a result, teenagers often turn to their peers and distance themselves from their parents. It is quite upsetting that this happens just at the time when parents must have all the information about what is going on in the lives of their children.

Teens usually are not happy and complain when their parents start a discussion, and then repeat the same things over and over again. Parents must understand that teens need to be given a chance to present their side of the problem and express their own point of view. Also, they might need some additional time to think about how to work on the problem, without any pressure from the family.

Conversations that put teens in a defensive position should be avoided. There will be no discussion if parents are challenging, threatening or hostile. Keeping calm will help teens to do the same and eventually encourage more open and level-headed communication. Teenagers need freedom to experience life, and information to make informed decisions. If parents prohibit their child from doing something, chances are that they will do it behind their back anyway. They must be comfortable talking to their parents and trust them in the first place. So, always let them talk and share their feelings and experiences.

Ups and downs during the teen years are quite normal, and a young adult who had a previous history of confidence, will come out of this process just fine. Teens who deal best with their problems and moods most often have parents who take time to listen and talk, parents who respect them and who are respected in return. These are parents who are responsible, and who expect their kids to be responsible as well.

However, it is very important for parents to pay attention to their child's mood and to watch for signs of a serious depression, such as noticeable changes in grades, their friends, eating and sleeping habits, grooming and so on. A combination of these symptoms could be an indication of too much stress, and perhaps, even alcohol or drug use.

Every teenager is a unique individual at an advanced stage of personal development. Parents must accept their teens the way they are, and celebrate their personalities and interests rather than overlooking or being ashamed of them. Parents should always find time to listen to their teens and respect what they are going through. Praise is a good thing as well, although it is true that straight ahead compliments are not always taken graciously by teens, but they still need them. Therefore, parents need to make sure that the praise is meaningful and descriptive.

Every parent should also try to schedule a special time to be alone with their child. It may be going shipping or the movies, a walk in the park or even a small trip. This special time offers parents another chance to talk and listen to their teen without interruption from work or other family members. Another good thing would be to encourage teens to discuss important issues during the dinner. Spending dinnertime together is one of the best opportunities for family communication. Having a dedicated family discussion time also shows teens that parents are interested in them and in what is important in their life.

Finally, the fact that teens may not want to talk about some problems, must be taken into consideration and accepted by parents. Sometimes, teenagers may just want their family to be there when the things go wrong. Their need for privacy should be respected and they must feel and see that their parents are always there for them.

Teenage years are very hard and crucial time for young people to consider and explore things for themselves. They will find out for themselves about valuable things in life and will be able to justify and defend them. Handling and improving communication with teenagers is not an easy process, but in case of success it will be richly rewarding for both parents and their teens.

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