Kids go through biological, social and psychological changes after they cross age 10. Sometimes, the physical and psychological changes that occur in adolescence start earlier, during the preteen/teen years(9-12 years). It is a transitional stage of physical and mental human development. It might seem like you don’t need to pay much attention to your kid anymore. But on the contrary, your kid requires extra care and emotional support from you than ever. If their emotional needs aren’t met, they will suffer a great deal and chances are they might end up blaming you for that. But, don’t you worry, you’re not alone. Read the points below to understand your kids better.
Give them some space.
By giving your kids freedom and room to grow you will also be giving them an opportunity to create their own identity. It eventually helps them to build their own place in society. It’s normal for parents to want to sit and discuss every problem face-to-face. But sometimes they just need a break from everyone to decompress. Ensure that your kid has a private space to sit back and gather their thoughts.
Try to understand their perspective.
Do you remember how it feels when your emotions aren’t validated and you are told that your problems ‘aren’t that big of a deal’? Nobody wants their emotions minimized, even your kids. They are at this point in their lives, where they are very anxious about their physical changes and feelings and their upcoming independence. This magnifies all the small problems in their minds. You don’t necessarily have to agree to them all the time, just try to look from their point of view.
Listen more and keep calm.
When a teen tells you what’s bothering him/her try to stay neutral. For instance, if you feel you him/her was at fault in a situation, do not comment right away. Give them neutral responses to show that you’re listening. This gives space to your teen to work out the issue himself or herself. When your teen shares a problem, he/she is not necessarily asking you for a solution. Many times, teens just want to share their thoughts without being bombarded with solutions.
Suggest activities to help relieve stress.
Sometimes all you can do is let your teen release some stress by allowing them to build up and explode. Exercises like hiking, martial arts, kickboxing, etc. and activities like writing a personal diary, cooking, baking, painting, etc are few effective ways of blowing off steam. Trying out new things and hobbies can also help clear the mind and relieve stress.
Give them the right to make mistakes.
When they end up breaking a rule/boundaries, it’s important to let them know they are wrong. However, don’t be too harsh on them else they will never share their issues with you. Guilt is a healthy emotion, hence, let them feel guilty. It will help them figure out the difference between the good and the bad and contribute to overall growth as a human being. It’s crucial to ensure they know they have your support. This will not only help them do good but also help them make wiser choices.
Get to know their friends.
When your teens seek permission to go out with their friends and you flatly say you can’t go out with them, they might feel unworthy and try to go out with them secretly. Instead, when you make an effort to know your teens’ friends. When they see you meeting their friends, they will get a better idea of their friends. This shows that you tried and builds a sense of trust which will eventually make your relationship stronger.
Walk your talk.
Actions speak louder than words, even in this case. Lecturing your kid and forcing good morals on them won’t work. Most of the parents go wrong here, their words contradict their statements. You have to show them that you practice what you preach. If they have someone they can look up to, they are wiser while making decisions.
Mental health problems are often mistaken for a typical teenage tantrum. If you suspect your teen might be suffering from something more than a developmental phase, let him/her know there is help. If your kid refuses to see a professional, go on your own to get a new perspective.
Parenting is a long and ongoing process, but making use of the tips mentioned above can make this phase less stressful and maybe make you and your teen best friends.