Raising modern teenagers is no walk in the park for parents

Family with teenage children eating breakfast in kitchen. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Amid the gloom of teenage pregnancies and drug abuse, a quiet social revolution is taking shape among parents.
  • . Without the willing uncles, aunties and grandparents who would prepare teens for adulthood, programmes on mentorship and life skills come in handy.
  • Unlike pre-teens who live by every word from their parents’ mouth, teenagers listen least to their parents.

Today’s parents are faced with a myriad of challenges. As if working to the bone to raise money to meet the ever increasing family needs is not enough, they have to raise the children. In most cases, striking a balance between the two fails and either of the divine duties suffers.

What is the alternative? Parents are left with the option of allowing house-helps to take over. Amid the gloom of teenage pregnancies and drug abuse, a quiet social revolution is taking shape among parents. In the today’s world, just like teaching can be done in isolation, parents have to come together occasionally to share their experiences under the tutelage of a professional parenting mentor or coach. Family life counsellors should also come to the aid of suffering parents.

Times and seasons have changed. Without the willing uncles, aunties and grandparents who would prepare teens for adulthood, programmes on mentorship and life skills come in handy. These programmes should be founded on universal moral values.

Adolescents have big dreams, but not what their parents’ desire for them.

They should also be holistic to impart necessary life skills in them to prepare them in dealing with vicissitudes like negative peer pressure, substance abuse and negative media influence.

Counselling

The absence of proper guidance and counselling has led to teenagers to engage in substance abuse, premarital sex, bad attitudes and other anti-social behaviour that would make them irresponsible adults.

Adolescents have big dreams, but not what their parents’ desire for them. How do you react when the 15-year-old child you thought would be the lawyer or medical doctor you failed to become, tells you bluntly that he or she wants to be a musician, a model or a DJ?

These children are not immoral or twisted in their thinking. They see everyday people in such jobs with money, fame and social status. Instead of hitting the roof and rubbishing their career choice, you can change this mentality. For example, you can tell them: “That’s a very good profession (even though you know it is not). Now, what you need to do is to study hard to qualify for a degree in mass communication or film and theatre so that you can become the best musician in town.” All the teenager desires and wants is achievement, satisfaction and excellence, and the worst a parent can do is to discourage them.

Another thing teenagers value is their chosen friends. Unlike pre-teens who live by every word from their parents’ mouth, teenagers listen least to their parents. They listen more to their friends and follow what society says. You can win them over by pulling them closer and not pushing them away.

Opening up

Therefore, the point is not about forbidding your child to have friends but rather, allowing them to be close so that they can openly and freely discuss anything with you. Showing that you care about their friends will do magic in terms of opening up and sharing.

There’s this elephant in the room — boy-girl relationships. Each parent sits at the edge of the seat whenever this topic crops up. Most parents will view it as the devil incarnate out to eat up their God-forsaken boys and girls.

Know this, boy-girl relations is a basic need for all adolescents The danger in shielding adolescents completely from mixing with the opposite sex is that when they eventually go out into the world, they don’t know how to behave and this may risk them ending up in reckless relationships Girls should be taught practical ways of rebuffing unwelcome advances.

In a nutshell, teenagers are always looking for affirmation and a sense of belonging, and this calls on the parents to relate with them on a one-on-one basis. The firm but friendly approach will go a long way in bearing a bounty harvest for your parenting.

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