Being a teenager is nothing short of a paradox. And that too, in an Indian society. Yes, we hear how difficult and trying job it is to parent teenagers. Some parents complain their teens of being defiant, aggressive, and rebellious. The majority of the discussions involve the worries and woes of the parents but never would you see any of them steering towards the challenges that our children face in their teen years.
Teenage is a huge change in the life of a child:
There is no denying that adolescence is one of the most complicated times in a child’s life. Yes, parents have to go through a tough time when they have to take care, teach, and discipline a teen. But teens have it equally rough, too. Indian teens today are forced to live on the extreme. There is no or little acceptance from the parents (sadly, it is true) which adds to the peer pressure and the need to get embraced by the society. That is a lot of burden for a person who is on the path of becoming an adult. The media is not going too well on the preaching side either. The TV shows depict everything as fair in teenage whether it’s premarital sex, bullying, breaking rules, and violent behavior. With so much happening out there, they are bound to become defiant, rebellious and out of control.
Let’s take a look at the various pressures an average Indian teenager has to go through, on daily basis:
Body Image Issues:
The first and foremost thing they have to come to terms with is their physical appearance. Teenage is an awkward phase. The childhood innocence is gone; you are moving towards adulthood but not quite there yet. Teenagers feel strangers in their own body when they hit puberty. They are not too comfortable with how they are going to turn out and it often messes up with their self-esteem too.
Work and Play Balance:
The stress of studies goes up as children move towards higher education. There are projects, tests, professional decisions. And what time is left, that is taken up by the extra-curricular activities of the school. No one like to be a party pooper or named a bore. Teens want to have a social life, too. The teenager is under tons of pressure to juggle studies, goals and the fun activities as a well. How can they learn all of this on their own? For them, each of them is important. But mostly, parents just see teens as irresponsible kids who are not too serious about their lives.
Parental Pressure with a dash of social pressure:
We Indians, are known for having big families. The bigger the families, the bigger the pressure. Every adult the teen sees around him is trying hard to mold them according to the acceptable shape. There are parents, elders of the family, then teachers, and social groups as well. As a result of this 360-dimension pressure, a teenager feels stuck with no idea about what to do with their lives.
The strain itself is enough for one to lose his mind. Parents give their own suggestions and advice and expects their teenage children to follow. Teens then suffer from the fear of failure and as a result, enter fields that are the exact opposite of the skill set they possess.
A teenager is expected to act like an adult with skills such as managing their finances and studies, decision-making, and taking their responsibilities seriously. This a lot for a person who is still a half-child. They cannot take the pressure of so many expectations. It makes them prone to depression and anxiety.
Teens feel the need to become the popular kid at school to get socially accepted among their peers. They want others to find them cool, hip, and attractive. This is a lot of stress. If parents are not vigilant, their child could get into school gangs or make friends with unruly teens. You never know! They fear to fail and suffer from anxiety. How do you expect teens to cope with all of that? They will find the stupidest and easiest ways, like getting into substance abuse, breaking laws, and so on. These all can lead to depression.
Physical and Emotional Health:
In an effort to be all and do all, teens sacrifice their sleep cycle, rest, and diet. Their eating habits are poor. Girls, from the fear of body-shaming, are forced to the brink of anorexia and the boys, stuff themselves with fatty and unhealthy junk food.
Teen health is at high risk currently. They need to have at least nine hours of sleep to function properly but, they sleep barely for 6-7 hours. This affects their performance a great deal whether it is their studies or their health.
With all the stress of scheduling, achieving, prioritizing and fulfilling the expectations of half of the family, being accepted by your crowd, the raging hormones and the various changes in the body act as the nail in the coffin. All of this wrecks the teen’s emotional health too. You will see more aggression, sudden mood swings, depression and sometimes if things go out of hands, a complete breakdown of the individual.
What is the parents’ job?
After knowing all mentioned above, we should examine our parenting skills crucially. We should look for ways to help teens and take responsibility for them rather than constantly judging them for how unruly and unpredictable they are. Social media, TV, and other gadgets cannot take place of parents. It is your job to take care of your child and nurture them.
The key is communication. You have to build such strong communication that your child should never fear coming up to you. They should be able to tell you everything and anything. Create such a relationship that they see you as their allies and their biggest support system, not their enemies. Always take up a positive attitude. You have to be your child’s mentor. Avoid commands and discouraging statements such as I told you so. Establish rules about texting, driving, dating, drinking, Internet, and social media use. Ensure that they follow these rules. Xnspy can help you with that.
Always be willing to listen to them and their perspective. Do not just dismiss it as child talk. Your kid needs your encouragement and support as these go a long way. The biggest stress for teens nowadays is fear of failure, let them know that giving your best is all that matters. It is alright to not win sometimes. Help them in boosting their self-esteem and overcoming their body issues.
Watch out for signs of anxiety, dress, and lack of appetite, sleep or concentration, withdrawal from socializing or interests. Talk to them. You should know what is happening in their lives. Get professional help if you see any of these signs and feel you cannot tackle them yourself.
They are your children. Let them know you care.