I am a mother of two daughters, one aged 8 and the other 13, so you can very well imagine the kind of yo-yoing I go through every day with them. You did not get it? OK let me elaborate. The 8 year old is still a baby, who wants to be hugged, pampered and who is ready to climb onto my lap at the drop of a hat, and I am lapping it up because I know in another three years even she will cross this stage and become the teenager which her sister currently is. The elder is a ‘touch-me-not, why did you say that, why did you not say that?’ constant complaints Queen.
So here I am going to tell you more about my elder one, who shall turn 14 this January and is right now a bundle of contradictions – tears and smiles, cartoons and Zoom TV, Enid Blyton and Cecilia Ahern and who constantly pesters me to get her books of Durjoy Dutta and the likes which she gets engrossed with (most of her friends are die-hard fans of the writer). Though I am proud of the fact that my daughter is a book buff, I am equally petrified by the fact that she may get exposed to all that lies in between those pages which can make the breeze turn into a storm in no time. I hope you get the hang of what I am trying to say and I am sure all those mothers who have a teenager at home will definitely say a ‘’YESSS’’
I know it is a hard life for the teenagers. I distinctly remember my teenage years when I was also a cranky, if not crankier teenager who used to cry at every possible situation. It used to feel as if the entire universe is conspiring against me. I was conscious of my looks, I was always eager to please my friends and felt that my mother is ignoring me, she does not listen to me where in fact my mother was a housewife and she was always available for anything I wanted to share. And here I am, a working mother with very few hours at my disposal because I am out of home by 8 in the morning, my kids leave even before that, then we all meet around 8 in the evening. At that time, the house is a warzone, where we are all racing against time to get the homework done, the dinner cooked and served, things to be done for the next morning, etc.
A theory says that the parent has to set aside time and sit with the teenage child, try to understand their turmoil, make her/him confident and let them know that their parents love them and appreciate them no matter what. It appears really simple but it is the most difficult thing to do. The moment you try to do that, your teenager will open up a dam of demands, complaints and arguments which will make you cringe, become defensive, then become accommodating and then you also become a pile of confused emotions. Moral of the story is that it is not easy to be the parent of a teenager. Period.
At the same time I would not like to end this on such a pessimistic note. There is hope, and the hope is of a different kind. In our times we were happy being allowed to go out with friends for a movie, or go off to a friend’s house for a few hours, but today’s teenager needs her dose of Whatsapp-time, Facebook-time, respite from tuition-time, permission to throw/ attend birthday parties in a restaurant-time and on top of it they have to keep themselves safe from dangerous (if they can recognise such people) classmates, friends of classmates, cousins etc. This is the time when he or she is at the pinnacle of self-loathing, everybody looks better than her, everybody has better friends, better books and even better parents!!
Now even researchers and Universities are coming to teenagers’ rescue with their study. The Friday edition (11-12-15) of Delhi Times, TOI says that the ‘University college of London Institute of Cognitive Neurosciences’ has found out in a research that people in the age group of 11 to 17 find it difficult to multitask. Which means when your teenager ignores you while watching TV in spite of your constant attempts to talk to him/her at the top of your voice, please do not take it to heart because as you can see this too is not their fault. The fault lies with you, the parent who can’t understand that the poor thing cannot multitask!
Well, as parents we have to understand that a teenager is a vulnerable child, about to turn into a beautiful youngster and the transition is mostly painful for both the child and the parent. Who else can understand the vulnerability of the child better than a parent, whether the child is a baby, a teenager, an adult or even middle aged, right? Right! So ultimately it is the parent’s responsibility to find a middle path amidst all the theory and practical (reality that is)!
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I am Rekha Nair, a Senior HR Professional, with around 18 years of experience, I am a mother and an avid reader and a blogger as well. I have been blogging since 2008 and you can find glimpses of my thoughts at The Balancing Act. I am blessed with two daughters aged 13 and 8 and it’s being mother to them and all the perks and pains along with it which keeps me going in life. I stay in Delhi along with my husband and daughters. I love writing and reading and has contributed to Professional HR blogs as well.