Muriel Cooper
Psychologist in Mornington

Teenagers and parenting

 

Teenagers and parenting

Problems and solutions for parents, teenagers and families.

Family with teenagersYoung people are leaving home later and later in the new millennium. The number of young people still living at home has grown by a whopping 50% since the late 80’s according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which also says that; a third of young people over 20 still live at home; more than half had tried moving out of home but didn’t like it; and when they do move out it’s not for long. Before you can say “Freedom!” they’re back again. Currently the average age young people move out is 28.

Many parents don’t mind their children living at home but find fights often break out over boundary and contribution issues. Instead of their young adults being a pleasure they’re a pain!

So what can parents do to address some of the more common issues that arise? For example them taking responsibility for their everyday lives, who pays for what, household and garden upkeep, use of family equipment such as the family car, sex, and drugs (including alcohol and tobacco).

 

Family conferenceParents often complain about the behaviour of their teenagers. So what are some good ways to cope with teenage behaviour?

First, understand that when your teen is pushing you away or doing things they know annoy you or not doing things to contribute to the household, that’s their job. They are caught in an ‘in between’ stage that is the transition between being a kid and being a grown-up. It’s their job to individuate and become independent, but we don’t have any ‘rites of passage’ or ‘Initiations’ for doing this any more. So young people do it the only way they can and that is, to rebel against their parents.

At the same time, as a young adult, how do you cope with seemingly nagging and ever-demanding parents who are making you do things and stopping you from doing things? That’s their job. To make rules to give you boundaries to push against. Otherwise what would you have to rebel against? Also having parents who impose boundaries tends to make you feel more secure because their rule-making is a sign that they are looking out for you and maybe that they even care.

There are a few simple rules for modifying behaviour that we often forget and this works both ways, for parents and teenagers.

Girl studying textbookWhat are you stressing about?

1. Getting back to study

Remember what’s worked for you in the past and make a list to remind you now. For new students, try and get into a routine that works for you and stick to it.

Choose a study place and set it up to suit you with all your study materials organised so you can easily find stuff.  When you settle down in your study place it’s much easier to get into study mode.

2. Not coping with the material

If you’re floundering with the material and feeling overwhelmed, identify the key areas where you’re not keeping up and either allocate more study time to those areas or ask for extra help from teachers, parents and maybe even a short period of tutoring. Sometimes peer tutoring works for short periods of time (that’s asking a fellow student who’s breezing through the stuff you’re struggling with and getting them to help out to get you on track).

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