In this counseling answer:
•It is very important for the parents to maintain close ties with the teenager.
•Show him or her how much you care.
•Include the teenager in family activities.
•Keep the lines of communication open.
•The parent must respect the teenager’s privacy.
•Keep it light. Don’t be too serious with the teenager.
Wa `alaykum as-salam,
When our children become teenagers, sometimes all we can do is survive. The good news is, if they have love and support at home, they will grow out of it.
Young people approach adolescence in different ways. Some become aggressive. Others may be withdrawn. Some whine and argue. Others may be more mischievous or risk-taking.
No matter how they react, all adolescents crave independence. This is the time when they must form separate identities from their parents. It is completely natural. Some children make the transition fairly painlessly. For others, it is much more difficult.
It is very important for the parents to maintain close ties with the teenager.
*Show him or her how much you care.
*Include the teenager in family activities.
*Keep the lines of communication open.
At the same time, the parent must respect the teenager’s privacy. This is difficult because the parent may feel the need to keep close tabs on the child. But teenagers crave privacy in the same way they crave independence. Allow your teenager to have his or her own “space”—an area of the house that belongs to him or her.
I’ve found that humor helps greatly. Keep it light. Don’t be too serious with the teenager, as long as he or she doesn’t get into any truly serious situations.
I would also emphasize that the parent can never enter into a battle of wills with the teenager. It will never end. If the child does not do what the parent wants, and if it is important enough, then the parent will have to set the limits. At times, negotiation is possible.
It’s very important that the parent decide which issues (for example, keeping the five daily prayers, taking schoolwork seriously, treating people with respect) are serious enough to enforce and which issues (bedtime, snacking) can be negotiated.
When you do communicate with your teenager, try not to be confrontational. The best conversations, I’ve found, take place in the car. This relieves the pressure of the face-to-face confrontation and offers a more relaxed setting. You may find better settings which can help.
Of course, the best way to raise a teenager is to build a strong relationship with the child when he or she is small. When you have that foundation, the teen years are easier.
Remember that your teenager does need you, whether or not he or she admits it.I have raised two sons through their teenage years, and I currently have three teenagers — and one preteen. One of my best moments was when my third son, who gave me a great deal of trouble during his senior year of high school, stood on the stage during his graduation and talked about how much he appreciated his parents. I don’t often cry in public, but that did it. Our kids are listening, even when they don’t seem to be.
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As for the shy child, I would recommend not pushing him or her. My fifth son was painfully shy, and he is still soft-spoken in public. He is gradually learning how to express himself. One thing which has helped is that he’s found success and recognition in writing poetry.
When your shy child can find an area in which he or she excels, this will help. In the meantime, accept this character trait and be grateful your child is quiet and not aggressive. Remember, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Iman (faith) has over seventy branches, and haya’ (self-respect, modesty, bashfulness, pious shyness),is a branch of iman.” (Al-Bukhari 1:8) and (Muslim 1, #0055).
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