Raising children is not an easy task. All the more when they become teenagers when you notice a lot of changes in their behaviour. If you’re having a hard time dealing with your adolescent child, here are some ideas on managing teenage behaviour.
Understanding changes in teenage behaviour
Adolescence is when teenagers undergo a lot of physical, emotional, intellectual, and social changes. Adjustments may be exciting for them, but they can also be confusing and overwhelming. These changes can cause them to act in strange ways we find hard to understand. Other factors like family and culture also play a role in shaping their behaviour during their teenage years.
Drawing the line between normal and unusual behavior
While these behavioural changes are expected, some actions might be beyond usual and can even be destructive. So, where do you draw the line between what is normal teenage behavior and what is not?
According to University Hospitals, the following are some examples of typical teenage behavior and patterns that raise concern:
Usual teenage behaviour:
- Obsessing over appearance as they struggle with identity
- Being awkward about the changes in their bodies
- Doing what their friends do and following their clothing styles
- Starting to have poor self-esteem from being confident
- Showing childish behaviour like crying and door slamming
- Finding fault with parents
Unusual teenage behaviour:
- Unable to do schoolwork, chores, and other activities
- Substantially poor school performance
- Recurring outbursts of anger
- Always opposing to authority
- Violent thoughts, behavior, and threats
- Hints of depressions like persistent sadness, changes in appetite, and thinking of death
- Frequent illness complaints like headaches and pains even without physical causes
- Indications of alcohol and drug abuse like frequent red eyes and seeing drug supplies
- Other disturbing and problematic behaviour like truancy, theft, vandalism, and fire-setting
How to manage teenage behaviour
Dealing with tDealing with teenage behaviour is not a one-size-fits-all thing. However, you can consider the following tips below and try what applies to your situation.
1. Be understanding and supportive of your teenager.
Earlier, we talked about the factors that cause behavioural changes in teens. One of the reasons is that they are going through developmental changes during adolescence. You need to be aware of these changes and acknowledge that they are adjusting. This way, you can be more understanding of their situation. You can also be more accommodating to their needs. Finally, you can give them the proper support and the independence they need.
2. Be consistent with your expectations and demands.
Teens are already capable of making certain decisions, but they may lack proper discernment for some things. Because of this truth, we parents have the tendency to be inconsistent with our demands and expectations. For instance, at one time, we control our children and do the decision-making for them. But in some cases, we also expect them to understand and comprehend things like we adults do. If you think you are this type of parent, you may want to be more consistent and transparent with your expectations and demands to your children. This way, you can expect them to follow through and transition more smoothly into adulthood without adding to the confusion they are going through.
3. Set clear boundaries.
Clear rules, boundaries, and applicable consequences can help develop your teen’s sense of responsibility and accountability. They also help them become more disciplined and respectful. Just make sure that your house rules and punishments are fair, reasonable, and not controlling. You can even involve your teenager in creating ground rules and penalties to encourage cooperation. So far, it works for me.
4. Be open-minded.
Teenagers begin to be more expressive and articulate of their ideas and opinions. And many times, their points of view are not the same as ours. They don’t seem to understand our perspective, and we can’t seem to understand theirs. When this happens, do not shut your teenager out. Instead, listen, be open-minded, and encourage the same thing to your teen. Arguing often may not be healthy, but allowing occasional healthy arguments can enlighten both sides and help develop your teen’s maturity.
5. Spend time with your teen.
Many studies have already shown that spending time with your children creates positive impact on them, so don’t skimp on this. These wonderful effects include better social skills, higher self-esteem, lesser behavioral problems, and higher chance of succeeding later in life. To spend quality time with your teens, you can eat meals together and talk about their day at school and with friends. You can also go for a weekly bonding over groceries, a physical fitness exercise, or any hobby. Finally, you can have a getaway with the whole family and involve them with the planning and organizing the vacation.
Raising teenagers is not the easiest job in the world, but we can’t just quit on them. They need our support and guidance more than ever. By understanding teenage behaviour, we can hopefully make parenting easier and our children more cooperative. We only hope for them to be independent, happy, and successful when they grow up.
If you want more strategies to help your teenager become more future-ready, please visit TransCultural Group.