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Understanding the teenage crisis

In addition to addressing you in a very bad English, your child suddenly forgot about the notion of respect. Is that what we call the teenage crisis?

By dint of good care and attention, you baby has grown. In fact, he grew so much that is he almost as tall as you are, if not taller and he eats like eight in order to do so. Maybe he needs a razor, maybe she needs a bra and you can now see what kind of adult you have been raising. You would be in a very good mood today if your child did not just insult you. Or maybe he protested against one of your very reasonable decisions.

From time to time, you wonder if things will get better over time and if you will ever see the wonderful relationship you always had again. Here are a few answers to smile again during this difficult and ungrateful teenage crisis.

Opposition

Even if some teenagers go through this period without much anger, if not for a few rough patches during which they meant to change some rules that were not adapted to their age, others are often in opposition and try to provoke their parents by being as arrogant as possible.

Of course, many parents have difficulty accepting that their children reply with so little care and refuse to do what they ask of them. I will not try to make it look easy, it is annoying, humiliating and stressful because you feel like you are losing control and are no longer capable of keeping your children safe at a moment when they are taking more and more risks.

Teenage psychology is very complex. If you try to be friends with a rebel teenager, he will treat you with no respect. If you are too strict, he will be frustrated and angry. The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to be honest and calm around him and to establish clear and consistent rules.

Changes

Adolescence, like the terrible two’s, is a delicate period during which you must try to understand your child to avoid loosing control… and your temper. Remember when your child was two years old, he was trying his best to be understood and as he finally managed to express himself, he realized you could say “no”. Therefore, he decided to say “no” too.

Similarly, a teenager has learned a lot and is not equipped to understand that your decisions are not arbitrary but based on your experience. They are not as wise as you are yet and wisdom is gained over time. It’s up to you to be patient. You know what they say: “If youth knew, if age could”.

Your child is going through a period of intense hormonal changes that can affect his temper, a period of quick growth that makes him even more tired and a period when the attraction towards the opposite sex has increased, sporting competition is fierce and academic matters are getting serious. It is a very tiresome period and we would be at least as impatient as they are in their place so the least we can do is to be a little lenient about what they are experiencing and how they react.

Security and cooperation

Because we do not want our child to be happy only when we are away, the best thing to do is to talk with them, explain our decisions, the risks we are not willing to take and to find common grounds on some aspects such as evenings out, dating, Facebook, cell phones, etc.

Since your teen wants to go to the movies and the park with his friends – and without his mom of course! – It would be wise to think of your limits beforehand. Before talking to him, think about everything that must be decided. Ask yourself with whom he will be allowed to do what, where you allow him to go, how late and by what means. If you are naturally anxious, you can offer him a cell phone so he can call you in case of emergency, talk to you every hour or ask you to go pick him up. Good communication will minimize the risk of conflicts.

As for Facebook, there is no escape: your child will probably have an account. The legal age to use Facebook is 13. Like anything that involves the presence of a child online, you can make sure that there are no strangers in his list trying to meet him. You can also keep an eye on his interactions to avoid any form of bullying that could poison the family atmosphere. As for being “Facebook friends” with your teen, it is a tricky question and we will discuss this in another article.

In short, adolescence, feared by most parents, is a period of adjustment, for them and for us, on everything that concerns freedom and relationships. The more you talk to your child to explain your values and beliefs, the more he will be inclined to trust you and know how to make you proud. Your relationship will help him through what is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult (yet fulfilling) periods of our life. We’ve all been there and although you cannot always prevent your grumpy and turbulent child from having hard times, you will at least know that you tried your best and trained your patience in the process.

By Anne Costisella

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