“I got some of my worst scars and some of my most exhilarating moments in teenage years”, says Stephanie Meyer, American Novelist and Film Producer of the vampire romance series Twilight. Teenage years are the best times, the worst times, the age of wisdom and the age of foolishness…a perfect combination of what I would call -“life”. All girls are different, but regardless of their personality and circumstances, they grapple with a barrage of challenges including surging hormones, behavioral issues and social pressures. For parents, they’re challenging to meet, yet rewarding to achieve.
Teenage girls have a way of disrupting their parent’s well-intentioned rational behaviour and in times like these, all that parents can do is to just take a step back, and reassess the problem and reset their efforts to deal with them. It’s like learning the ropes of parenting again, this time with their teen daughters.
How to deal with the eye roll?
They all do it! This is a very basic teenage girl response and it can make any parent’s blood boil. Parents should not overreact and they should just shake it off at that moment. But they should bring it up later when things have calmed down. Parents can have a mature conversation about this behavior with them. Eye rolls are a sign that the teen is beginning to judge and think for herself. It’s super annoying but it is also developmentally appropriate and she’ll eventually grow out of it.
Let’s not confuse sexy with sexual!
Take a deep breath parents! Teen girls may have or will shock you with skimpy or bodycon outfits; depending on the occasion. Parents might want to use their Puritan tongue or cringe but the truth is, they are not trying to invite the male gaze. Instead, they’re trying on what they believe is a more womanly appearance. Parents and teens have to decide what they both are comfortable with and what the boundary is but it’s important to remember that dressing sexy is not about wanting sex. Of course, it is imperative to discuss the societal messages inherent in their self -presentation or appearance but not in the heat of the moment. Choose a calm connected moment to hear them out and then explain your point of view.
Let’s evolve together
That’s the message teens have for their parents! They want to have a relationship that is based on implicit trust and communication. Teen girls want their parents to evolve with them. They think it is very important for parents to be informed. In fact, teens should talk to them and make the parents aware as to how the world is changing and at what pace. Be it friends, relationships, social drinking, parents have to learn to be less rigid in their approach. It’s extremely important to bridge the gap and the effort has to be from both the sides. Also, no one can bring about this change in a fortnight, it is a continuous process. Parents have to keep the channel of communication open with the teens and vice versa. Purva Kale, studying, Masters in Dentistry, from Nagpur, is of the opinion that, “teen girls must talk to their moms or any parent they are comfortable with, about all generic and sensitive issues. She talks to her mom about boys and dating and in the process; she also informs her parents how the world is changing”.
You don’t drink? How uncool!
Calm down parents! Teen girls, as all teens, do experiment with alcohol and smoking at some stage of their growing up years and that’s alright. But it’s not alright to yell at them if you catch them doing it socially. Again, situations like these have to handled with utmost care and sensitivity. Teen girls do face a lot of peer pressure and what parents should do is to sit them down and explain them the dos and don’ts of drinking, smoking and drugs.
Respect My Privacy Please!
The idea of violating their personal space is not what most teen girls would appreciate. Purva says, “My parents have never hijacked my phone, read my messages or stalked me on social media. It’s great when parents don’t violate your personal space”.
Burying the Hatchet
Most teen girls nowadays do not confess to their parents because they are scared of being misunderstood and judged. At the same time, they do want to talk to their moms and confide in them. So, parents have to come forward and take that first step in building a relationship of trust with the girls. Your daughters might be confused, anxious or just fearful. Teen years are not easy for either parents or teens themselves but parents are way better equipped to deal with situations than their little ones, so extend and make yourselves available at all times…this time like good friends.
Enjoy the wonderful times with your daughter and remember that even in the most difficult days, parents are the ones who will help her become a successful-confident woman.