You may be surprised to see that your little angel has now become your rebellious teen. Identity crisis starts to set in. In addition to the identity crisis, peer pressure, media influences and hormonal changes are some of the challenges that your teen will need to overcome.
During this stage of their lives, they fight for independence and want to be treated as adults. They usually push themselves to the limits and will do almost anything to win the approval of their peers. Sometimes, they will question the beliefs and religion they had previously believed. As a parent, it is important for you to provide them with all the support they can have during this stage but you should also allow them to express themselves in seeking independence.
Here are some helpful tips on how to reach out to your rebellious teen.
Tip #1 - Listen
The first and most important tip in reaching out to teenagers is to simply listen to them. You should also act as a friend to your teen and be willing to listen. Maintain an open communication and make sure to let them know that you would always lend an open ear. As a parent, it is difficult not to be biased and interrupting to your child. The best thing is to be a fully present listener; this means giving undivided attention, reflecting back the emotions you hear (e.g. "It sounds like that really makes you mad" or "It sounds like you feel left out" etc.) and refraining from giving quick advice. It is much better to ask your children what they think the best solution would be. You can help them to think through the consequences of their "solutions" and discover better alternatives (if needed).
Tip #2 - Define and Set Limits
You should set limits; these usually depend on your values. Be clear when it comes to letting your teen know what these limits are. Cursing, curfews and physical violence are some examples of issues that you may want to discuss with your teen when it comes to setting limits. Teenagers need to know the expected consequences of violating limits in advance; this will prevent an exchange of angry words and any attempts to negotiate when limits are broken. You simply enforce the consequence which was agreed upon at an earlier and calmer time.
Tip #3 - Allow Them to Decide for Themselves
As a parent, you should help your child grow, not stop them from doing so. Allowing them to make their own decisions is crucial step in letting them grow and develop independence. They can start with simple decisions like their style preferences, pursuing their hobby or choosing sports to play. By giving them the liberty to decide, they will not feel controlled by you. The more they feel restricted, the more they will fight back.
When they decide for themselves, they will also learn from their mistakes. If they experience failures as early as adolescence, it would be easy for them to handle failures during adulthood.
Tip #4 - Stop Comparing Them to Others
Comparing your teenager to siblings or other family's teen will only
create anger and increase the desire to rebel. As much as possible,
avoid expression of favoritism in the family.
Tip #5 - Acknowledge Their Strengths
Teenagers seek approval and so acknowledging their strengths is a good way of letting them know how important they are.
You were once a teenager; try to remember the way it felt. You do not need to be your teen's best friend; you do have to let them know that you are there and that you love them unconditionally. Loving them unconditionally does not mean however that you will accept poor behavior (don't let them fool you into backing down from the agreed upon consequences).