Every adult or parent in the world has passed through the teen years otherwise known as adolescence. But despite this, the understanding of a teenager’s behavior and attitudes continue to bewilder and confuse families especially the parents. Given the ever-changing times, teens of every generation struggle to cope with new challenges, expectations and peer pressure, thereby directly affecting how they deal with family life and conversely, how the family deals with them. It is up to the parents to sort through the numerous attitude and physical changes and come up with a proper balance between parental control, understanding and guidance.
Teenager in the House: The Relationship between Adolescents and Family Life
If one were to look up the meaning of the word “adolescence,” the definition would be
more couched in physical and physiological descriptions of the changes that happen in individuals between the ages of 12 and 20. (“Adolescence,” 2004) Some books would probably even go into describing cognitive development and perception of the world according to different ages and stages. If one however were to ask a parent what “adolescence” means to them, they would most probably give an altogether different answer.
“Fifty years ago, the word ‘teenager’ was used for the first time – coined by Bill Haley and the Comets during a UK tour in February 1957. ” (“LIFE’S STILL SO,” 2007, p. 40) Since then, the word “teenager” seems to be the next chaotic and terrible phase in a child’s life second only to his uncontrollable “terrible two’s.”
When I was younger, I always thought my parents knew everything and were never wrong. I believed that they never made mistakes, they were too old and wise. The same went for my teachers, older members of our extended family and just adults in general. I felt so safe, comforted by the fact that they knew and were in control, so I didn’t have to be. The older I became, the more I realized how faulty ...
Angst. Rebellion. Body image. Peer groups. Peer pressure. Cries of “You just don’t understand!” and the irritatingly ubiquitous apparently multi-functional word “whatever” that seems to be a teenager’s answer and “punctuation mark” to everything. All these combined with the thoroughly forceful yells of “I am not a child!” followed by the parental retort of “Then quit acting like one!” seem to be the hallmark of a child’s adolescent stage in today’s modern times.
The teen years often cause parents to utter a collective shudder. The docile little boy, perfectly content playing with toy trucks, has morphed into a moody adolescent demanding a driver’s license. The sweet little girl who snuggled with a cloth doll has evolved into a self-conscious teenybopper clamoring for designer jeans. Dramatic body changes, the pop culture, and peer pressure powerfully distract young people, often resulting in unwholesome choices. Mom and Dad are frequently at their wits’ end trying to cope with teen-aged angst and rebellion. (Lyman, 2002)
Whatever a mom and dad feel about the changes their adolescent child undergoes, one thing remains certain. Their attitude and subsequent behavior towards their child has significant influence on how their teenager will handle and grow though adolescence.
Adolescents and the Family
When a child hits the adolescent stage between ages 10 and 18, they undergo many changes both in terms of physical and of temperament.
Mothers often find it bittersweet to wake up one day to see the children they have babied so long suddenly grow taller overnight. Acne sets in triggering wild searches for acne treatments, creams and cosmetic concealers. Teenage boys start showing up at the breakfast table with bits of lint stuck to where the razor nicked their chins. Suddenly there can never be enough Pan-Oxyl or acne creams in the medicine cabinet.
The two most important factors influencing adolescent’s developments are psychological and environmental factors. As they grow, they are influenced by environmental factors such as religion, culture, Schools and religion. The psychological factors that influence their development includes cognitive and emotional factors (Hall & Braverman, 2014). In the western society, what is missing ...
These new “housemates” also begin to withdraw little by little from their families. Phone calls are done almost furtively so mom and dad will not hear. Teenagers start locking themselves in their rooms playing loud music and doing “nuthin’.” Even the attendance at family functions become a battle of wills between parent and child. Questions as to how school went would be answered by “ok or nothing.” Even short trips to the grocery store cannot be done without earphones plugged into their I-Pods stuck in their ears with music drowning out the world outside.
Detachment and withdrawal from their families by teenagers have grown to be one of those “to be expected” yet hurtful things that parents have to contend with.
“I think the number–the fact that there is this decline of 60% in the amount of time spent with families–is somewhat staggering,” notes Reed Larson, the father of a sixth-grader.