I have heard a lot of parents say, “I have two teenagers at home – you can imagine my plight!!” Or “Teenagers NEVER listen!!”
Teenage years, are almost always spoken of as a dreadful time. So my intention through this blog, is to unveil this child, who is in the third plane of development, so that we can better understand them.
There are a lot of changes going on within the child in this plane – hence the name metamorphic years.
The changes happening are on the following levels:
Let us talk a little about each of these areas.
In the teen years, their bodies are growing and starting to look and feel different. They are yet to adapt to this new look and so are uncomfortable. They are still figuring out their style of dressing.
They may have breakouts on their face because of hormones. They may not like the way they look.
It is at this time, that we have to make them feel that they are a magnificent expression of life and are beautiful just the way they are. It is important to not keep drawing attention to the pimples, their weight, height or colour. This could lower their self-esteem.
The best way to help, is to assure them that it’s a passing phase and suggest washing their face more often, staying off snacks or exercising – but not nagging them about it. Nagging will push them away from you, but reminding them at appropriate times helps. Help them get comfortable in their skin.
Apart from bringing physical changes, the hormones also cause emotional imbalance. There are times when teenagers want to be left alone and times they need a friend. The crucial point is to know the difference. They need to be loved but in different ways. They want to be understood! They want to be respected as individuals. Make deposits in their emotional bank account by listening and being there for them when they need you.
Peers have taken a very important place in their lives. They want to fit in. So here’s when it’s important to have healthy discussions and find out about things that matter to them. Talking to them in a non judgemental way will help you know what’s happening in their social circle.
The teenager should be empowered to have opinions and be able to stand up for themselves. This will help them make the right decisions in a social circle and not just do things to fit in especially because it is very irritating for the teenagers when adults are constantly judging them instead of understanding them.
Teenagers have minds which are active. So they have thoughts, opinions and ideas. They do not want to be told what to do. So you might be wondering, what if they are not yet ready to make decisions and may end up taking the wrong decisions?
That’s why it’s important to start young and teach them decision making by offering choices. Now they are used to choices and are willing to choose from the alternatives. If choices are never provided earlier they reach teenage when they don’t want to be told what to do and do not know how to make decisions and may end up taking wrong turns.
Taking wrong turns in the earlier years won’t result in any major damage and so it is ok for them to learn by making mistakes. If in order to avoid small mistakes the child is told exactly what to do, then it will result in a defiant teenager.
Teenagers love intellectual discussions about things that are happening around them. They just don’t want you to start lecturing them. They want to get out of the “Child Role” and get into the “Adult Role”.
This is the age when the questioning mind is questioning everything that is happening around. They are trying to understand the way life works. “GOD” is a word that is yet to form a meaning in their heads.
So the best way to help this child develop spiritually is to be there and try to answer their questions without resistance.
Let them seek, find out and clarify to find their own spiritual path. This spiritual path they find, will be there for them through good times and not so good times too!
So the bottom line is to:
- Be there for the teenager.
- Ask them, how you can help them and assure them that you are there for them whenever they need you.
- Help them see their strengths and suggest areas of improvement.
- Be open and follow the least resistance path. This does not mean you agree to everything they say or want to do. You can agree to disagree on some situations and give a time limit for some and a complete disapproval on situations which you know will cause them harm. “Choose your battles” is how the saying goes but I say, “Choose your disapprovals”.
When the teenager is given enough space to just be, they will value your opinion. So we need to be open and drop the barriers that we have to certain ideas or situations. It is not sensible to keep comparing your teenager’s life to when you were a teenager.
Talk, learn, ask questions, understand your teenager and parent with this new knowledge. Stay connected to your “Being”, then the role that you play of a parent will flow with ease and will be right, for your teenager. Each teenager is custom made – don’t generalize and box them. Respect them and their privacy and you will see the transformation in their behaviour towards you.
Be there for your teenager through these metamorphic years and you will see the energy, colour and light they can bring into your lives.