Behavioural Issues in Adolscents  


Does your teen seem to hate you? Are communication devices ruling your child's life? Do you not like the peers your son is hanging out with? Does your daughter shout, sob and slam the door every time when you ask her about her whereabouts?

As a parent, you can feel hurt, worried and unsure about what has happened when you have experiences like these. Your child used to value your interest or input, but now it seems that even the simplest conversations turn into arguments.There are reasons for your child's behaviour. And there's also good news: this phase will end.

Behavioural Changes During adolescence, you'll notice changes in the way your child interacts with family, friends and peers. Some of the common changes include:

1. Shows strong feelings and intense emotions at different times.

2. Moods might seem unpredictable.

3. These emotional ups and downs can lead to increased conflict.

4. Heightened self-conscious, especially about physical appearance and changes.

5. Goes through a "bulletproof" stage of thinking and acting as if nothing bad could happen to him.

Handling your teen's disrespectful behaviour

1. Set clear rules about behaviour and communication. Involving your child in discussions about rules means you can later remind him/her that he/she helped make the rules, and that he/she agreed to them.

2. Stay calm. This is important if your child reacts with "attitude" to a discussion. Stop, take a deep breath, and continue calmly with what you wanted to say.

3. Focus on the behaviour not the person . When you need to talk about some disrespectful behaviour, focus on the behaviour and how you feel about it. Avoid any comments about your child's personality or character. Instead of saying, "You're rude", you could try saying something like, "I feel hurt when you speak like that to me"

4. Be a role model. When you're with your child, try to speak and act the way you want your child to speak and act towards you. Don't worry if you haven't started talking with your children about sexuality yet. It's never too late. Just don't try to "catch up" all at once. The most important thing is to be open and be available whenever a child wants to talk.

5. Praise your teenager for positive communication. This lets her know you're aware of and value her opinions.

6. Use humour. A shared laugh can break a stalemate, offer a different perspective on a situation, or lighten the tone of a conversation. Being light-hearted can also help take the heat out of a situation - but avoid mocking, ridiculing or being sarcastic.

7. Ignore your child's shrugs, raised eyes and bored look if he's generally behaving the way you'd like him to.

8. If your child's "attitude" towards you and your family doesn't respond to any of the strategies suggested above, it might be a warning sign that there is a deeper problem, consider seeking professional support

Things to avoid

1. Arguing: This rarely works for parents or teenagers. When we get angry, we can say things we don't mean.

2. Bad timing: Few of us want to talk about a difficult topic when we're angry or upset. A more effective approach is to tell her/him that you want to talk, and agree on a time to meet and discuss the issue later.

3. Being defensive: Try not to take things personally.

4. Lecturing: Even though you may have more life experience than your child, lecturing him about how to behave is likely to turn him/her off listening. If you want your child to listen to you, you might need to spend time actively listening to him/her.

5. Nagging: It might increase your frustration, and your child will probably just switch off.

6. Sarcasm: This will almost certainly create resentment and increase the distance between you and your child.

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