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Parenting: Teen Identity Issues

By , Wyckoff, NJ

Most adults would believe that one of the hardest stages in parenting is during their child’s teenage years. During this time in a person’s life, one is struggling to build on their identity and become their own individual. Often times, parents can make things harder for their child as they grow up and risk the chance of losing their connection between each other. Adults do a great job, but there are still some things they must be aware of and take into consideration in order to understand their kid and ensure a stronger family relationship.

Self-Empowerment
Self empowerment plays an important role in a teen’s life as they mature and become who they are. Everyone is different, so parents must keep their own child in mind when searching for signs of self-empowerment, or a lack of. This is a crucial time for parents to question the way they appear through their child’s eyes, because it is important to refrain from seeming judgemental. It may also be helpful for adults to think back to when they were a teen and be honest with themselves about what struggles they had to face and how they went about facing them. Without the knowledge gained from one’s own growing process, adults can have a harder time understanding the cause of their child’s actions. Teenagers who do not acknowledge the value in self-empowerment may show frequent signs of insecurity or behaviour. Other teens who are aware of the importance of self-empowerment may also be struggling to go about using it, and this could cause them to occasionally come off as overconfident, conceited, or arrogant. If this is the case, it is helpful to discuss with them the problems of their approach, but also prove one’s understanding of where the kid is coming from. Showing one’s support can be tricky, though, since no one wants to be treated like a baby or feel belittled by condescending behaviour, so adults must pick their moments and give their kids the necessary support while still letting them feel independent and strong.

Communication
The teenage years are when kids finally begin to use their voice and form their own opinions on things that are important to them and the world. Some of the discussion topics that teens bring up and/or show passionate opinions about may not seem important to the parent, but it is important to the child for a reason, so be open to their thoughts. When conversing about these matters, it is good to state your own opinion, but parents may be neglected for seeming to be making an effort to convince their kid that the adult’s opinion is right. One cannot force another to think a different way, whether or not it seems that a specific way is better or more logical. Teens are showing that they have their own opinions and that they are an individual with their own beliefs, so accepting this and making an attempt to understand their side will build healthy communication skills between the parent and child.

Independence
The stereotypical characteristic of a teen is being disconnected to the family and constantly wanting their space, so parents are prone to repeatedly making sure they do all that is possible to influence their kid’s participation in quality family time. Although being alone too often is not healthy, it is important that during this time in their lives they be given some space from their parents. Teenagers are trying to become their own individuals, so the alone time they seek can be a necessity for moving farther along in the process of becoming more independent. Time alone can be used to do deep thinking and self reflection, so allowing kids to use this time wisely can help them mature. If teens feel that they have the freedom to use their time how they see fit, then they are most likely to reconnect with their parents willingly rather than being forced by adults to give up their alone time. It may be difficult at first, but patience is essential from both the parent and the child.

Decision Making
Teens are not adults yet, so there are still many decisions in life that must be monitored by their parents, but especially when regarding their future and the individual they want to become, it is important to leave that up to the child. Helping them and guiding them to make good choices is beneficial, but people can not be persuaded down a path that their parents prefer they take. Additionally, happiness can come from the decisions one makes about what they will do for the rest of their life, and these choices can range from the occupation one pursues to how one spends their Saturday afternoon. It is crucial for parents to trust that their kids will make the right decisions for themselves after being provided with just the right amount of assistance and support.

The sooner an adult takes action to putting the pieces of their parent-child relationship back together, the more effective it will be and the easier it will be for their teen to trust in them as an understanding, caring, and supportive figure. Give the child the benefit of the doubt; most often, they are aware of how much effort their parents put into the family, so it seems only fair for adults to search for the intent behind their kids’ conduct too. All actions have a reasoning behind them, so parents may benefit from trying to understand where teens are coming from and putting themselves in their kid’s shoes. This way, adults will have a better understanding of their teen, and teenagers will be able to become the person they want to be while maintaining a loving connection to their family.




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