Bonding with your Adolescent
By: Pulkit Sharma

Dr Adolescence is an extremely crucial stage of life. The child who has been completely dependent on parents and enjoyed a protective environment now feels ready to be on his own. Yet, he or she lacks maturity to be completely independent. Parents therefore need to play a complex role for overall development of their adolescent. Parents must learn to give space to their children at this stage along with support and guidance.

It is often seen that when the children enter the teenage, their relationship with the parents starts deteriorating. There are fights and arguments over trivial issues almost every day. As a result the adolescent moves away from the parents and strengthens bonds with his or her friends. There are bound to be conflicts in parent-child relationship but if few points are kept in mind and followed then parents can develop a good rapport with their teenager:

. Give space: A majority of parents continue to feel that their teenagers are too young to have a life of their own. This is a myth. Just as you do not share all the details of your life with your children, from adolescence your children also have a need to have an independent life where they may not wish to involve you. This will make you sad but for a healthy relationship you need to give space to your teenaged child.

. Healthy guidance: Although your teenager has a need to be independent, many a times they do not have necessary skills and expertise. It is therefore important that you help them out. The manner in which you help them will decide whether they will accept it or not. While guiding them, suggest your perspective as a possible alternative, do not claim that it is the best and what they are thinking is flawed. If you criticize their perspective, they will never hear you out no matter what you say.

. Rediscover yourself: During upbringing of their children, parents often give up their interests, passions and hobbies to devote maximum time. When children are ready to be on their own parents feel a sense of emptiness as they can think of nothing else to keep busy. In order to avoid this; as soon as your child enters adolescence rediscover your lost interests, hobbies and passions. This will reduce your need to hold back your teenager.

. Handling anger: On several occasions you may get angry at your child for doing something you do not approve of.Parents end up being critical and abusive due to anger and the child feels extremely hurt and humiliated. This leads to a breakdown of communication and spoils the relationship. Therefore, control your temper and politely talk about your concerns.

. Encouragement:During adolescence, children take up many new roles and initiatives. If you like anything that they do, encourage and appreciate them. This will make them feel that you value them and will bring them closer to you.

Pulkit Sharma is Clinical Psychologist & Spiritual Therapist in private practice at Pondicherry (Puducherry), near Auroville. Email:- info@thepsychologistindia.com