Fragile age: how to survive it for the teenager himself and his parents


Parents of adolescents know that you can’t put pressure on teenagers, they don’t work with methods and communication methods that were just perfect yesterday. But there are unobvious mistakes that even the most loving and caring mothers and fathers make from generation to generation. What are we doing wrong? And how – right? We’ll talk about this.

1. We ignore change

Sometimes it is difficult for us, parents, to accept the fact that the child is growing and changing, and we try to simply not notice it. In some cases, adolescents support adult strategies. “Ira 16, she is our late and only child,” Anton, 54, shares. – She has no friends among peers. With mom they go to theaters, to concerts. The wife is glad, says: “But she is under supervision.”

Should parents worry that their children are in no hurry to separate? “If excessive attachment to mom and dad prevents the child from fulfilling his social role, communicating with peers, you should pay attention to this,” says Nikita Karpov, a child psychologist, “for example, consult a specialist.”

And if the adults themselves do not support the desire of the teenager to secede, to find their own way? “Sometimes a teenager agrees to such a relationship. Then all the psychological processes characteristic of adolescence are simply postponed for later. And it’s much harder for him, ”says psychologist Rufina Kashapova.

If the child has the strength to resist, he is overwhelmed with guilt. Remain loyal to the family system and slow down your development – or hurt your loved ones, but become an adult? It is better not to pose children with such a choice.

2. We protect the teenager from the consequences

“When I was as old as my son now, I was preparing breakfast for myself, taking care of the dog,” recalls 41-year-old Mikhail, father of 13-year-old Pasha. “But he does nothing without reminders, he loses everything, he is late everywhere.”

At this age, the child’s appearance quickly acquires new features that indicate his maturity. Parents believe that internal changes towards maturity are taking place at the same pace. But is it?

“A teenager considers himself an adult, wants the same rights as his elders, but does not want to take responsibility. Here is one of the main psychological conflicts of puberty, ”explains Inga Kulikova, clinical psychologist, gestalt therapist. How to help resolve it?

The child will run into trouble, but this will teach him to take care of himself

The adolescent period is a time of increased neuroplasticity, says psychologist Lawrence Steinberg in his book “Adolescence: Don’t Miss a Moment.” This means that the brain of a teenager is able to change under the influence of experience almost as much as it changed in the early years of life, when a child learned something new every day.

This property of the brain can be used to introduce the concept of responsibility to adolescents. Let him know from his own experience what the consequences of his actions will be: did not set the alarm clock – he was late, forgot the textbook – got a bad mark. This tactic is suggested by Amy McCready, a family coach, in the book “Mom, Myself: How to Help Your Child Grow Independently.”

Yes, the child will run into trouble, but this will teach him to take care of himself and calculate the results of his actions.

Oh, these nets!

How can parents communicate with a teenager on social networks in order to maintain a fragile balance in a relationship? Amy McCready, a family coach, suggests “becoming a fly on the wall while chatting,” that is:

  • try to like less and comment on the posts of the child;
  • Do not mark children in the photo without their permission;
  • consult with your child before adding friends to his friends or teachers;
  • Do not be ashamed of adolescents in social networks and less often point out errors in their messages;
  • try to contact in person, not via the Internet.

3. We are afraid of changes in their bodies

Parents of adolescents are sometimes not at all ready for the physical changes that accompany puberty.

“When I was thirteen, my dad always said:“ It smells bad from you! ” – recalls the 22-year-old Oleg. “I was very ashamed and unpleasant.” What does the child actually hear when the elders allow themselves such comments? “A teenager feels the tension of a growing body,” says Rufina Kashapova. “He is already afraid that something is wrong with him.” And the parent confirms with his chuckles: “Yes, not everything is all right with you!” The child thinks: “I myself can’t cope with the situation, and the adult, who should be on my side, does nothing to help.” And it can cause him unbearable pain.

That’s why you should control your speech, even if you are “just joking.” Rufina Kashapova explains: “It would be nice for a teenager to hear this message from parents at this moment:“ We really see that you are growing up. Despite the fact that your body is changing and you yourself do not always understand what is happening, everything is fine with you. ” It is good if the parents tell the children about how they themselves experienced the difficulties of puberty, and also try to maintain bodily contact with the teenager. A hug, a kiss, an encouraging touch are better than the words they say: “I am close, I accept and love you.”

Fragile age: how to survive it for the teenager himself and his parents

4. We are jealous of their friends

Until recently, our son “wanted to be a pilot like a dad,” and now he admires a classmate who leads a strange YouTube channel. We knew that sooner or later we would cease to be the center of his universe, but still it was not clear what to do about it. And the child’s friends do not inspire confidence …

“In adolescence, parents“ fall to the bottom ”in terms of priorities, and peers ascend to Olympus. You’ll try to forbid them to communicate, they’ll also hammer the entrance to the room with boards, ”Nikita Karpov warns. How to be?

If you want to share your opinion with your child, you should do it very carefully, perhaps in an interrogative form: “Doesn’t it seem strange to you that Petya does not greet us, your parents?”

It also happens that adults try to make friends with peers of the child. 15-year-old Arina says: “When my friends come to visit, my mother often sits with us. The girls are pleased, but I feel awkward. ” Is it worth it?

“If you like the child’s friends, if you know how to respect boundaries and know when it is time to leave the room, that’s good,” said Nikita Karpov. – Try to answer the question: why do you need this communication? In 90% of cases, the honest answer is: to control the situation. As soon as you get it, wait for the reaction. “

Fragile age: how to survive it for the teenager himself and his parents

5. We ignore school problems

“My 14-year-old son slid into three,” complains 39-year-old Anna. – Popular psychologists say: “Evaluation is not the main thing,” and I generally agree. Another thing is worrying: it was interesting for Andrei to study before, but now obviously not. ” Is there any need to worry about the lack of fives, or can problems be attributed to hormonal storms?

“Decreased academic performance is a symptom that often hides something more,” Inga Kulikova emphasizes. – The true reason for the decline in interest in learning may be tensions in the family. And it’s not only about conflicts with the child, but also about how parents are doing with each other. ”

School performance falls if a child has problems with friends, if bullying occurs at school. A teenager may himself not be bullied, but the anxious atmosphere in the class will affect his condition.

“What seems lazy to us can be a symptom of a serious illness – for example, depression,” Inga Kulikova warns. “In order to rule out a diagnosis, the comprehensive help of a psychiatrist and psychologist is needed.”

5. We want to be persistent tin soldiers

“I never thought that I would be so mad at my own daughter,” Inna, the 35-year-old mother of 13-year-old Polina, is upset. – They say that you just have to wait a couple of years, and everything will work out. And I barely have the strength to survive the next day. “

Let us recall the favorite metaphor of child psychologists: “put on the oxygen mask first on yourself, then on the child.” What does it mean? “If parents do not learn how to take care of themselves, they will not have the strength and they will not be able to withstand the strong emotional reactions of the teenager,” Inga Kulikova insists.

It is useful for a teenager to realize that a parent is not omnipotent. This will teach him to give himself the right to make a mistake.

It is successful if adults are passionate about their work, if they have a hobby: their own interests will allow them not to interfere excessively in the life of a teenager.

But is it really necessary to always stay calm when a storm rages in the soul of a beloved child and periodically covers us? “An adult is also a living person, something he can endure, but something not,” Inga Kulikova recalls. – It is useful for a teenager to realize that a parent is not omnipotent. This will teach him to accept both the strengths and weaknesses of the individual, to give himself the right to make a mistake. ”

Find and not give up

When a teenager begins to study worse, this does not always mean that he has serious problems.

“A drop in performance is a common thing for adolescents under 15,” Rufina Kashapova said. – At this time, they are reassessing values, they are looking for their own path. It is extremely difficult to search for yourself and study well at the same time.

Perhaps the teenager now needs a pause to step away from learning activities, to look at what is happening from the side. This is all for the good: as a result, he will be able to make an informed choice. And at such a moment, parents can help the child by supporting their interests. ”

If the process, in your opinion, has dragged on, you should seek help from a tutor – a teacher-mentor who will help a teenager determine his preferences.

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