by Dr. Shanthi Thomas
Teen age is a roller coaster ride for most children and their parents. It is a time when there are often conflicts between the child and the parents, and also when parents wish they had some idea about how to go through this period. Read on to see the life hacks for the fathers of teenagers:
Parents are like a vessel that holds children. The slightest crack in the vessel will make children insecure about their own life. That is why it is often said that the greatest gift parents can give children is a strong loving relationship between the father and the mother. This is especially true about teenagers. Make sure that you display affection for your wife openly, and celebrate her birthdays and your wedding anniversary as lovingly as you can. Teenagers need to see the affection between their parents.
Our society is still largely patriarchal, and sees the father as the head of the family. This is especially true in Asian families. In fact, in all families, the typical father is the silent and strong person who is not easily swayed by the problems and tribulations that life brings on a daily basis. And this is good for a teenager. As a child goes through teen age, he is ravaged by hormones that make him question a lot of things. He is on a quest to find his own independence and identity. When he goes through such chaotic experiences, he needs to feel the presence of someone who is stable, and emotionally strong.
No teenager likes to be lectured, but fathers sometimes love to share their wisdom accrued from experiences with their teens. This backfires most of the time. Either the teen rebels against the lecturing parent, or he shuts his ears completely. Either way, the father’s efforts have been wasted or even have negative consequences. So, control the urge to lecture at your teen at any cost.
Teenagers are notorious for not talking or spending time with parents, preferring to spend all their free time with friends. However, if you take an interest in the games that they play, there is a chance that they might want to play with you. It could be one of the sporty games such as football, basketball or badminton, or it could be even an online game. It could even be PS4! The important thing is that you get to spend time with them.
You want your teenagers to respect others? You be respectful first. Young people are very sensitive to hypocrisy. Fathers who preach good values but do not practice them will not be respected at all. So, you need to be sure to enforce only those values and behaviour that you yourself do follow. A good example is the use of mobile phone. A father who uses the mobile phone at the dining table cannot admonish a child who is using it while having dinner!
A father who says ‘no’ to everything and anything all the time or most of the time is guilty of being too restrictive. Similarly a father who says ‘yes’ to all requests is guilty of being too permissive. Effective fathers of teens strike a balance between the two, saying ‘no’ sometimes, when the request from the child is too unreasonable or may lead to dangerous results in the long run.
As a transition stage into adulthood, teen age is a time when children are asserting their autonomy and identity. At this stage, they should be able to take some decisions for themselves without having to consult anyone. As long as those decisions are not harmful to anyone, and do not go against the values of the family, fathers should let them be. For example, a teenager should be able to choose the co-curricular activity that he or she wants at school.
The milieu in which your child lives and the one you lived in your childhood are poles apart. The economic and social realities of today are very different from those of the time you were a child. Therefore, it is very unfair to compare today’s children with you or your friends as children. They will not like the games you played when young, or wear the kind of clothes that you wore. And it is completely natural and normal.