Understanding an Adolescent

Adolescence undoubtedly is the most crucial part of our life. During this phase a number of change begin to occur. There are doubts and confusions in the minds of teenagers. They are often torn between what they are told by their parents, what they find outside and what they actually want to do. All this leaves an impact on the family and particularly the parents.

How does a parent feel when he is disrespected, ignored, disobeyed, humiliated, or neglected? What happens to the parents whose teenaged daughter suddenly elopes with someone or their young son becomes a drug addict or takes to criminal activities Why do all these things happen? Simply because the parents do love their children and wish them all the best in their lives. On the other hand, think for a while the mental agony of a teenager who is always rebuked, abused or even beaten, without valid reasons. What happens to an adolescent who is always condemned, compared with friends, classmates or youngsters in the neighborhood, even in the presence of guests? How does a teenager feel when he is not allowed to exercise his likings to make friends, choose his subjects or career?

Why do such things happen? Obviously, because parents fail to understand and appreciate the teenagers problems of they are simply ignorant about these.

To understand 'adolescents', it is important to differentiate between the adolescent persons and adolescence. Adolescence is a period of life and an adolescent is a person between the ages of 12 to 22 years. Often adolescents are identified by age.

Early adolescence (12 to 15)
Middle adolescence (15 to 18)
Late adolescence (18 to 22)

Although this categorisation according to age is convenient but practically it is not so relevant in describing, explaining or understanding adolescents. A lot has been said about the hormonal changes that rule the teenage years of turmoil -his/her rebellious attitude, fluctuating mood, and the stubborn streak adopted to any suggestion regarding an orderly way of life.

But mature and understanding parents can certainly make this phase smooth for their growing children. Care should be taken to see that the various realities of life are explained to them in a cool and clam manner. The idea behind all explanations should be to educate and not to frighten the child.

Adolescence is preceded by childhood. It is therefore but logical that before we take up adolescence we must have a brief discussion on this significant phase of life. It is widely acknowledged that maximum development takes place during the first six years of childhood. Children show a tremendous capacity to absorb a lot from their surroundings that consists of their homes, families, peer groups and the general environment they are exposed to. It is important to note that whatever children feel or observe is stored up in their subconscious mind. Memories thus accumulated from since childhood have a profound impact on 'the growing up into maturity stage' i.e. adolescence.

During adolescence, growing children undergo certain physical and behavioral changes, which become a cause of worry and concern to the parents and the teenagers. We have endeavored to highlight that behind all these changes during adolescence various factors are at work - biological factors (governed by hormonal changes that take place in their bodies), the role of the changing environment, continuous exposure to mass media since childhood and parental attitude. These surging changes have a profound impact on their behavior. They become aware of their sexuality but are unable to adjust to and sometimes even understand these changes that at times excite them and at other moments make them melancholic.

Parents fail to understand their growing children's inhibitions regarding sex matters. Reserved and withdrawn attitude of the parents make matters worse for these youngsters. Ignorance pertaining to natural phenomena of life e.g. masturbation, menstruation etc. leads to many complicated problems. Time and again it has been stressed that patience, openness and an understanding attitude on the part of parents makes this phase less tumultuous.

All these changes combine to create a communication gap between the two generations. Actually generation gap is a hypothetical term, which has been introduced in the society to hide the inability of parents to understand their child. Don't think that your child needs to understand his parents. It is you who have to understand your child and guide him on the path of success.

Try to understand him/her and handle the problems with due care and attentions.

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