Parents-Teenage Child Relationship
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10 October 2012 As defined by the Encyclopedia of Children’s Health, parent-child relationship consists of a combination of behaviors, feelings, and expectations that are unique to a particular parent and a particular child. The relationship involves the full extent of a child’s development. Parent-child relationship is described as the most important relationship among the different relationships people formed over the course of the life span. The quality of the parent-child relationship is affected by the parent’s age, experience, and self-confidence; the stability of the parents’ marriage; and the unique characteristics of the child compared with those of the parent. Therefore, how the child is raised in every aspect of life throughout every phase up until adulthood lies on the hands of the parents. How the child grows mainly depends on how he/she is guided by his/her parents especially on the rough times where the only people he/she can depend is his/her parents thus the parent-child relationship is the best way to grow and mold into a better person.
But things change and people change over time especially when these children reach the stage of pre-adolescent or adolescent or the stage where the “raging hormones” are at its peak. The teenage years or adolescence is considered as the most tumultuous and stormy part of life, or the most turbulent and difficult phase of a person’s life. Why? Because in the normal track of life of a human being, this is the stage wherein we humans experience the greatest range of emotions, the quickest possible time to make decisions and the fastest time to react to every single thing. Therefore, in these years we make the most irrational decisions and the biggest mistakes which will let us learn the true value of the people around us especially our parents.
Parents who say “Little children, little problems; big children, big problems” refer to, no doubt, the upheavals of adolescence. Being a parent is a rewarding experience, but it’s not always easy, especially during the child’s teenage years. Parenting an adolescent can be like riding a roller-coaster; one moment they appear angelic and mature, the next, their horns appear and things get out of control. All of a sudden, your teenage child seems to have changed without warning. The teenage years or adolescence is defined, as the period which begins with puberty and ends with the onset of adulthood. It is also the period of life wherein a growing individual makes the transition from the period of childhood to the state of adulthood.
According to Wikipedia, adolescence (from Latin: adolescere meaning “to grow up”) is a transitional stage of physical and psychological human development generally occurring between puberty and legal adulthood which is the age of maturity. The period of adolescence is most closely associated with the teenage years, although its physical, psychological and cultural expressions can begin earlier and end later.
This period is highlighted by what anthropologists termed as, rites of passage which includes a total transformation of the person. It too includes the transition of a person from one phase to another. Relating rites of passage to the teenage phase of a person, this is where one undergoes the most significant transformation with the longest and hardest transition so this means that a transformation is directly proportional to one or many transitional phases. There are also various transitional phases of a pre-adolescent to an adolescent since the social, physical, emotional and mental environment varies from one person to another. For example, a parent reprimands his or her child for most of the time of the teenager’s transition, this will put a toll on the mind of the child that all the things he or she is doing is a mistake or its just plainly wrong. Two things will happen:
“Rites of passage in adolescence are a cross-cultural phenomenon. They have existed throughout human history and may be a significant factor in the development of a stable adult personality. Broken down into its most basic elements, a rite of passage involves (1) a separation from society, (2) preparation or instruction from an elder, (3) a transition (in either he/she will stop doing whatever he/she is doing or continue to do it. For the fact that the teenager is a teenager then most probably he/she will do the bad thing thus continuous reprimands from the parents. The transition phase of the child will be altered greatly since the advices and the guidance given by his/her parents have become a misconception on the part of the child.
Therefore, the rites of passage have been greatly affected by external environment. Other facts related to the rites of passage in adolescence are written in the excerpt of an article below. the case of adolescence, from child to adult), and (4) a welcoming back into society with acknowledgement of the adolescent’s changed status. The transition itself most often takes place within the format of some ceremony, many aspects of which are common to widely diverse cultures. They generally include (1) literal and spiritual cleansing, (2) physical transformation, (3) offerings, prayers, and blessings, (4) traditional food and dress, and (5) traditional musical instruments and songs.” (Delaney, C., 1995)
Puberty usually occurs sometime between the ages of ten and fourteen, but notably, with wide individual variations. However, the adolescence period is usually said to last from the age of twelve or thirteen to twenty-one or twenty-two. In this period, teenagers or adolescents usually play “The Lying Game” where they think that they are the only ones who are playing the game but truth be told and things be laid down, parents are also part of the gamble.
“A survey of 30,000 teens by the Josephson Institute reveals troubling new statistics about the honesty of high school teenagers. The incidence of stealing, lying and cheating have climbed to an alarming rate this year. . . And when it comes to lying, the survey shows teens have no compunction about it. Nearly half said they lied to save money, and 83 percent say they’ve lied to a parent about something significant.” (Hoffman, A., 2008)
The survey above just shows that teenagers have a very high tendency to lie in whichever situation they are in – especially in situations that they have to lie because of important events connected to school and other major activities. But teenagers should keep in mind that parents would rather know the truth the first time, no matter how ugly and horrible it might be, than to find out later that you lied. And although it’s sometimes hard to believe, parents were teenagers once themselves which means that they know the lying game, and if they are paying attention, have a fairly good idea of when their kids are lying. Therefore this matter teaches the teenagers that whatever situation they are in may it be best of the best or the worst of the worst, the best decision or the best step to take is to tell their parents.
Discipline is also a concern of parents. Children’s behavior offers challenges to even the most experienced and effective parents. The manner in which parents respond to a child’s behavior has an effect on the child’s self-esteem and future relations with others. Children learn to view themselves in the same way the parent views them. However, no definite limits can be set because adolescence is measured by many factors. Physically, it begins with the onset of puberty, the time of life during which the reproductive organs become capable of functioning, and it ends when an individual has sexually matured and has reached full physical height. In terms of education and work, the period of adolescence corresponds to the high school years and college as well or high school and starting a job.
In males, the evident physical change is the aspect of the deepening of the voice, and the need to occasionally shave. Meanwhile in girls, the onset of “menarche”, or the start of the menstrual cycle signals the onset of puberty. But menarche is often preceded by the enlargement of the breasts in most girls. Growth in physical height is usually associated with puberty well into adolescence, both for the boys and girls. For both, there is growth of pubic and underarm hair. They become very self-conscious and sensitive. Suddenly, they cry out for freedom and privacy. The beginning of puberty brings with it profound emotional, social and even cognitive changes to the adolescent person. It is in the emotional and social arena where the turmoil of adolescence is apparent.
The bodily changes that occur in the teen years profoundly affect the way an adolescent relates to his family, peers and teachers. They also tend to change so that they can cope up with their peers which they also consider as their significant others. Children react differently to the appearance of physical signs of maturity. While some children are overjoyed with the evidence of entering the world of adults, there are those who are afraid at the inescapable signs that their childhood is about to end. Most adolescents feel both these mixed emotions. To the adolescent, growing up can be both exciting and threatening. Identity crisis is a phase they go through as they discover who they are and try to make sense of the world around them. For many, this phase of self-discovery brings about instability and causes them to feel insecure. (Charis, P. 2011)
Parents of adolescents react similarly exhibiting the same mixed emotions as their teenage child. There are parents who fear the end of their nurturing years and are upset of the imminence of sexual activity in their children lives. Other parents, however, are thrilled by the passage of their child from childhood to adulthood. First like their adolescent child, parents may feel both excited and threatened by the onset of puberty.
The teenage or adolescent child tends to become more independent of his parents, feeling capable of functioning in the world of adults. Yet this transition is not an easy one and the teenage child may find himself/ herself running back to the security of home and the steadfast and warm assurance of loving parents.
The relationship of parent-teenage or adolescent child is usually marked by conflict during this tumultuous stage, as a result of the conflicting emotions both the child and the parents experience. That is why it is the primary reason why the physical bodily changes had to be discussed extensively in the preceding paragraphs to establish the nature of the family conflict.
Parents often feel they are helpless and in a “no-win” situation: if they allow their child too much freedom, they feel they abdicate or give up their responsibility. Yet if they allow too little leeway, the adolescent/teenage may feel humiliated and mistrusted. This situation may lead to a rebellious behavior or attitude in the offspring. Socially, they go through a process known as individuation, which is becoming an individual. For this to happen, they feel an urge to be “separated” from their parents and identify themselves with their peers. This is their way of showing the world that they have grown up. For this reason, they do not like to be seen with their parents or be shown too much affection openly by their parents. Hence, friends become very important to them. (Charis, P. 2011) The teen years are burdened with conflicting feelings and thoughts as these almost-grown children head closer to adulthood. Parents are often left wondering what happened to their delightful kids who went from happy-go-lucky to moody, frustrated, conflict-ridden adolescents.
Likewise, the child may feel he/ she is also in a “no-win situation”. If he/ she is able to convince his/ her parents that he/she is trustworthy, he/ she may be overwhelmed by the freedom granted to him/her by his/ her parents. The child may even feel that if his/ her parents truly love him/ her, they would not allow him/ her to be in a situation fraught with danger and temptations. If however he/ she does not seek the freedom, “to try his/ her wings”, he or she might end up having feelings that he/ she is doomed to a life of dependency or immaturity. Nobody treads this road without some mishaps. A kind of tolerance between dependence and independence seems the safest way to take. Parents should realize that age should bring increasing privileges (not a right) to the child who has shown the ability to handle freedom responsibly. In the same way, the child must accept that privileges from parents are earned by being responsible to the freedom granted to him/ her by his parents.
If a balance can be made with a slow but constant increase in the child’s handling of his/ her own affairs, the transition from childhood to adulthood should not be too painful. Parents should be able to understand what their child is going through. They should be there to support their child and serve as a guide so that their child will go through the right path.
What in fact are the major issues confronting the adolescent and his/ her family? Usually family disagreements focus on the matters relating to academic performance, dating and sex and the use of cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. Frequently, a combination of these issues is involved, and even in the most peaceful families some disputes or conflict may happen.
Most parents equate the adolescents’ academic performance as crucial link to his future success. In relation to this logic, the child who fails in high school denies himself/ herself the benefits of a higher education and the opportunity for a good life later.
To the adolescent child, he/ she may view this as irrelevant. His/ her inability to deal with the present may well indicate his/ her unconcern with the future. During the period when a child is facing a difficult time coping with physical, social and emotional turmoil, his/ her academic performance is the last among his/ her concern and priority. He/ she may even unconsciously sabotage his academic future in order to delay his full transition to adulthood.
When it comes to dating and sex, the adolescent, since the time of puberty is capable of sexual activity. Yet he/ she thrive in a society that will not accept him/ her as an adult for another five to ten years. Somehow, this result in some kind of conflict for the teenager or adolescent for in some senses, he/she is a child but with the body of an adult. The adolescent is financially and emotionally dependent, yet he/ she is physically a mature adult. Parents are called upon to set values. For example, they may set curfews and limit dating to certain hours. No matter what explicit limit they set, parents however do not have complete control for the young adult is generally able to circumvent rules especially those that are unjust.
The dilemma of parents may increase then. If they are too strict, they face defiance from the teenager child, if they are too lenient, they court disaster. If parents refuse to take a stand, they surrender all responsibility for a youngster that still needs guidance and nurturing. Parents, in essence, needs to display an unwavering parental authority over their teenager offspring especially in relation to issues that affect the moral fiber of the child.
On the other hand, they need to temper their stern authority with the loving and nurturing heart of the parents; after all, it is still the parents who know what is best for their child. And parents can relate were to their children because they underwent the same situation. Experts agree that the most important qualities of a good relationship are respect for one another, Understanding each other’s feelings, Being able to trust each other, Having concern for each other’s well-being, Knowing each other — what each other is like, what each other wants, and what each other likes and dislikes. In a good relationship, our teens show us respect, take our feelings into account, trust us, are concerned about us, and are interested in our lives.
Of course, all relationships are two-way streets. So, in good parent-teen relationships, we also show respect for our teens, take their feelings into account, trust them, are concerned about their well-being, and take interest in their lives. (Cullins D, n.d). The idea of a relationship between parents and children has been skewed in our culture. We have confused relationship with friendship. We seem to know that the relationship is essential, but often our attempts to achieve this have ventured too far into friendship territory. It seems like a difficult balance to achieve, but you can have a close and meaningful relationship with your children and still maintain your position as leader and authority figure. Think of it this way: you are not on opposite teams. You are not teammates. You and your spouse are the coaches and your kids are your star players. As the coach, you are invested in your children’s success and growth as team members and seek to come along side them to insure that they work toward that goal. (Kuehn, L, 2010).
Delaney, C. H. (1995). Rites of Passage in Adolescence. Adolescence Magazine . Herring, J. (2005). Parenting Your Teenager: Truth or Lie? Ezine articles . Hoffman, A. (2008). Survey shows many teens lie, cheat and steal their way through high school. http://www2.wnct.com/news/2008/dec/03/survey_shows_many_teens_lie_cheat_and_steal_their_-ar-39717/ . Beaty, Janice J. Observing Development of the Young Child. Merrill, 1966 Chess, Stella. Know Your Child As Authoritative Guide for Today’s Parents. Basic Books, 1987. Elkind, David. The Child And Society. Oxford University Press, 1987. Ginott, Haim G. Between Parent and Child. Maemillan, 1965.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/170844-problems-with-parents-teen-relationships/#ixzz28tl0tfiD Parent-Child Relationships – baby, Definition, Description http://www.healthofchildren.com/P/Parent-Child-Relationships.html#b#ixzz28tncm78X