A sixteen years boy came home exhausted, seemed moody and distracted. He grew his hair long, has poor academic performance, poor communication, poor sleeping and eating habits. One day his mother found a cigarette in his college bag. She was shocked and began worrying. Then she decided to consult a psychologist. Nowadays, such problems are found quite common among teenagers. Teens are vulnerable and hanging unusually with peer groups, enjoying bullying others, too much exposure to electronic devices, craze on cyber- bullying, sexual involvement and bike racing or bike stunt. And the major issue is developing substance abuse and addiction at an early age. Psychology of teens is unpredictable. They tend to feel overly emotional for a small event and can be angry and mad due to small things. Mood swings, feeling of inferiorities, sexual instinct and thoughts about sex can trigger a sense of guilt. Overwhelming emotions can be harmful to teens.
The majority of teens complain their parents not accepting their nature, interest, and behavior. They always criticize whatever they do, impose their wishes and ideas and major conflict is parents never understand their emotions. This parent-child relationship conflicts can lead to a mental health problem.
Mental health issues are prevalent among teenagers but such condition places them at risk. Driving accidents and Suicidal cases are the examples of neglected emotions of teenagers. One research has revealed that around 50% of mental health disorders begin at the age of 14. In fact, one- third of teen deaths are suicides triggered by depression. One teen said his counselor "My parents impose everything I try to do. They ask me to act natural. What do they mean by act natural? Am I mad?" This argument and parent-child conflicts may represent thousands of youths in Nepal.
Understanding the teen's psychology and risk factors, parents need to be prepared to handle their teens being very patient and empathetic. If parents force their teens to be socialized, cultured and natural, it may hurt them and create a poor parent-child relationship. Parents need to understand teen's individual psychology. This is an age in which they discover themselves. They are not ready to listen to their parent's ideologies, social perception, and judgments. They only listen to their "inner-self", friends, social networks, and media.
The best thing parents can do for their teen is to be situational and understand the 21st century's challenges which are the great struggle for both parents and teens. Let's fight these battles wisely because the children need the support from their parents. Hence, it's better to stop arguing, blaming, fighting and emotional blackmailing to their teenage and learn the scientific parenting skills.
Gaining your child's trust is important and if you want to help them wisely, listen to them without judging, criticizing and avoid giving them only advice when they are not ready for it. First, listen what they have to say.
Let them know that you love them just as they are and encourage them to be true to themselves and not take on a personality just to please others.
Involving in creative activities can help them channelize their emotions. Hence, provide a platform to exhibit their creativity in a spontaneous way.
Do not spy on them or accuse them of any wrongdoing but encourage talking freely and honestly.
Do not forget that teenagers are vulnerable and can be easily swayed to the wrong side. Hence, if needed do not hesitate to consult psychologist and professional counselors.
Dr. Ganga Pathak
Professor of Psychology, T.U.