Confrontation: Parents Versus Teenagers
Personal perspectives from teenagers
Parents are overconcerned about their children because they want to see them happy, wealthy and safe.The teenagers resent unsolicited attention and advice.They strive to appear independent.This leads to confrontation.
The other day I was traveling along with a friend in his car. His son was driving. My friend was sitting beside him. I was in the back seat. Although we were talking , I could see that my friend was tense at the way his son was driving .He was instructing his son to drive carefully, to do this , to do that and so on. The son obviously was not listening; he was driving the car in his own way. When the father continued his instructions, the son got offended, stopped the car and said to his father: ’OK, then you can drive it yourself’
The son came out. I tried to pacify him, but he was adamant .He sat with me in the back seat, while his father took the wheel .The son told me: 'He is always like this. Insulting me !'
On another occasion, I had an opportunity to talk to a few teenagers in the course of a program they were attending. The topic of discussion was ‘ Relationship with parents’
Arun, a participant, was telling; ‘ My parents make my life miserable. They always say that they want to see me happy and secure. Their worry drives me crazy!’
Another teenager, Ms. Geetha put it this way; ‘ My mother is afraid that I am going to college in a far away place. She says I am so young. She is missing me so much. I am her only child. You see, my mother wants to live my life for me! I wish she would allow me to live my own life.’
Gopal said; ‘My father says he would do anything to see me succeed in life. He advises me for hours. But I am really sick of his advice. He always talks about my future, but in the process, he is ruining my present.’
John said; ‘My mother is worried about me. She says I do not take care of myself .She reminds me that I have always been a sickly child. My mother is actually playing a doctor!’
Several other boys and girls also spoke about the interference of parents in their daily routine and in almost everything they did. The position revealed was one of confrontation. Is a peaceful coexistence possible?
The parents are over-concerned about their children because they want to see them happy, healthy and safe. But, often their efforts are unrewarded and their love and care remain unrequited. The teenagers resent unsolicited attention and advice. They strive to appear grown-up , independent, and self-sufficient. They need to feel and show they are capable of finding their way without parental intervention. The teenagers consider autonomy as supreme and one interfering with it is their enemy.
The reasoning of parents for their behaviour towards teenagers is that they want their children to be secure and happy . They do not want them to suffer in life as they suffered. They should excel in their life……
What is the way out of this position of Parents Vs teenagers ? The parents should understand that teenage is a period of turmoil and turbulence. Most teenagers are tormented by private terrors and ambitions. They are in search of a personal identity. Most of their actions are attempts to establish their identity and autonomy. Maybe , in the process they become disobedient and rebellious. The parental help at these times should be subtle rather than with criticism and advice. Parents have to accept the restlessness and discontent of the children. They should realize that fighting with their teenage children is inviting doom and will cut communication totally between parents and children.
The best solution to the problem can be to help them cope with the present crisis by providing them with support and assistance. Parents should be able to encourage them to live up to their potential rather than to harass them with their own unfulfilled ambitions.