Home>>Articles>>Raising Happy Teenagers

Hello Beautiful Souls

It gives me great pleasure to be able to touch on a topic, very pertinent in today’s time and also one that I’m comfortable sharing my knowledge and experience on.

Too often these days, most people find themselves fighting an uphill battle, with having too much to do and too little time to do it in. Added to this are work pressures, financial constraints and an ongoing struggle to make ends meet. Needless to say, this situation can cause a wide array of problems, that ultimately affects many families and their functioning as a whole interdependent unit. This of course, is a subject that has many angles, and leaves no segment of society immune to its effects. In this article, however, we look at how teenagers are being overlooked, in the family dynamic, perhaps unintentionally, yet nonetheless the most vulnerable of all.

How often do we free up our time, from our busy schedules, to interact with the young members of our family? It’s so easy to get caught up with the mundane routine of day to day activities, that we lose sight of the barriers we’re actually building in our homes. As parents, grandparents, older siblings, uncles, aunts, and caregivers, we have a certain responsibility towards our younger generation, that goes beyond housing schooling and feeding them. A responsibility we need to start taking seriously.

In my Practice as an Educator and Counsellor, I frequently come across young people, who are deemed as misfits to society, or more commonly referred to as “delinquents”. Rather cruel, when you consider all the negatives these people have to face daily. Yes, there are people of the younger generation who are indeed dysfunctional, without obvious reason sometimes. These are individuals dealing with their own inner demons. A complete and separate chapter for discussion, for another time.

Believe me, I understand, that teenagers especially, can be particularly resistant to help being offered. They’re too preoccupied with wanting to grow up faster and pretty much hell bent in trying to prove their elders wrong. Not easy circumstances to be a part of I agree, yet sanity has to prevail and more importantly, seniority has to be the discriminating factor.

Here we will look at the possible methods one can use to show awareness and empathy to teenagers and their growing needs.

  • l Don’t lecture your teen, have a conversation:
    When parents complain, “my teenager doesn’t want to talk to me”, what they’re really complaining about is “my teen doesn’t want to listen to me”. Conversation involves at least two people, where both persons should be given equal opportunity to talk and to listen to each other.
  • l Don’t Attack:
    A conversation between any two people will break down if one of the two is put on the defensive and made to feel like he’s being accused of something. That is the wrong approach, always Ask and Listen.
  • l Be Yourself:
    Don’t try to talk like your kids or their friends. You’re an Adult, so be an adult.
  • l Seize the moment:
    Spontaneous conversation in the car or at home late at night, when you’re not rushed, can make for some of the warmest most rewarding moments. Capitalise on such moments, because they invariably don’t come up when you expect them to.
  • l Show respect for your teens opinions:
    Teenagers can be surprisingly easy to talk with, if parents make it clear that they’re listening to the teens point of view. Paying attention and making eye contact during conversation, shows that you care.
  • l Keep it short and simple:
    In Psychology circles, this is advised as the “50% rule”. Almost every parent says at least 50% more than he/she should. Stop speaking when you’ve had your say. Remember when you were a teen and your parents lectured at you and you thought “stop, I already got the point!” – Stop, before your teen gets there. This will avoid unnecessary banter, and irrevocable words being spoken.
  • l Avoid Saying “because I said so”:
    If you want your teen to adopt a new behaviour, then you’ve got to go for engagement, not compliance. Teenagers will slip back into their old patterns very easily when you force feed them your ideas, by laying down the law. Rather ask “what would you do, if your idea doesn’t work?” Here you’re coaching them through all the possible scenarios, and they feel involved.
  • l Understand teenage language:
    Pay close attention to the common words teenagers use, when they feel neglected or even unloved. Words like “whatever” or “I don’t care” or “leave me alone”, are clear indicators of something more serious brewing under the surface. Often-imes parents take these words quite literally and play out on them. These are precursors to your teen seeking attention, and should be treated as such. Take time to initiate conversation instead of sidestepping the issue at hand.

There are plenty more examples, too many to mention and equally important to discuss. Perfect Parenting is impossible as much as raising perfect children are. Doing your best, however, is all that can and should be expected of caring parents.

Until Next Time
God Bless And Take Care
Shantha Pillay
English Educator and Behavioural Counsellor

TEFL Educator – Teaching English As A Foreign/Second Language – Qualified from Premier TEFL Academy Ireland in May 2017.  Behavioural Counsellor – Using The Positive Psychology Program to counsel adults and students on a mediating platform.  Tarot Card Reader – Taught and mentored by one of South Africa’s most prolific Astrogers, Ursula Wania.

Contact Number: 071 307 6000
Email: shantha3004@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *