4 ways to survive junior’s teen years

Get expert tips that will teach you how to handle the next stage of your kid’s life ― adolescence!

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By the time your kid turns into a teen, you would have realised that raising a child is a hard slog. You’ve lived through the 3am feeding and diaper changes, the lack of sleep, the occasional toddler tantrums and the usual back-to-school blues.

Now, there is a new challenge to face ― when junior transitions from childhood to adolescence, which is a big turning point in your mini-me’s life socially, mentally, physically and emotionally. 

Dr Lim Boon Leng, a psychiatrist from Dr BL Lim Centre for Psychological Wellness, explains that the teenage years can be trying as it may be difficult for parents to gauge the maturity and responsibility of a teen who wants more freedom and privacy

So, what’s the big hoo-ha about dealing with teenagers? Well, they are entering puberty, which is when external influences become stronger and start to sway their decision-making process. So, this is the stage when parents will start worrying whether their child would “turn bad”. So, parents can observe these guidelines to build a better bond with junior, so as to lessen their chances of going astray:

1. Respect your teen
Avoid embarrassing him in front of others or threatening and blackmailing him. An example would be saying “If you don’t listen to me, I will cut your allowance!” Do not compare your child with others as this will indirectly hurt your child’s self-esteem, too. Note, too, that just like no two individuals are the same, each and every child is unique as he or she is born with different talents, strengths and interests.

Respecting your kid allows your child to be comfortable in his own skin, so that he will be less reluctant to share what is on his mind. As he is transitioning to adulthood and may demand more freedom, independence and privacy. In our culture, not only are parents controlling, they are also afraid of embarrassing themselves, which leads to a lack of communication between them and their kids. Everyone at home should have a fair chance to talk, ask, listen, and be treated equally. Just because your teen isn’t an adult yet, doesn’t mean he cannot express his views. Listening to your teen will make him feel important, and let him know that you take his concerns seriously. This will help you strengthen your relationship with your teen.

Setting rules allows your teens to flourish.”

2. Set rules and consequences
Make sure that the rules are clearly communicated to your teen, but at the same time, leave enough room such that you can offer more freedom if he shows that he is responsible. You can impose restrictions later if he proves to be less mature, says Dr Lim.

When you set boundaries, you’re preparing him for the real world. He will learn to understand what's expected of him, and what consequences he will face if he does not comply.

Rules can also help reassure your rebellious teen, who want to know that they are able to count on their parents. However, you should also refrain from being too strict towards your teen, so make sure the rules you set are achievable and within your child’s limit.