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  • How To Better Connect To Your Teenagers? Revise Your Rules

    'Naging madaldal sila since natuto magsalita and then nung naging teenager na, one-liner nalang kung sumagot'
    by Jazer Basan .
How To Better Connect To Your Teenagers? Revise Your Rules
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  • Adolescence is a difficult phase as it is the age when they start to build their own identity, question their parent's authority, and test boundaries.

    Since the start of the pandemic, The Philippine Mental Health Association Inc. together with the Department of Education is raising self-awareness among teenagers to fight the negative effects of isolation and possible mental crisis. 

    Together with their Positive Parenting campaign, the self-awareness program aims for parents and teenagers to foster healthy mental and emotional well-being and build better relationships at home. 

    Help teens learn self-awareness

    Self-awareness is evaluating one's self in relation to how he or she is viewed by others. Once realized, it gives the person a purpose to improve, have good social skills, self-control, and think positively. 

    An exercise on self-awareness, commonly used in teams building is also an effective tool for teenagers. Psychological tool Johari Window model can be used by teens. 

    This is basically a box with four windows depicting aspects of one's self that needs to be filled or identified. 

     

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    Teens can ask for help from a family member or a friend to fill in the aspects of other people's perspectives of her. 

    The objective here is for the teen to be more conscious of the Arena or Open Self window and let it grow over the other windows. 

    By learning the outcome, the teen can foster self-awareness and be honest about their own emotions, the impact of their behavior on others, and set expectations for the future. 

    This is why it is very important for teenagers to learn this as they are susceptible to influences and confusion dictated by tradition, society, and social media

    Having self-awareness can help dissolve identity crises and make better decisions.  

    Open communication is vital

    Parents can support their teens’ self-awareness by having open communication. This is according to Mary Jane L. Belen, a guidance counselor and speaker for Youth Life Enrichment Program of the Philippine Mental Health Association Inc. 

    "Naging madaldal sila since natuto magsalita and then nung naging teenager na, one-liner nalang kung sumagot,” she said. 

    "They experience a lot of changes, mentally, physically, emotionally, sabay-sabay. May pinagdadaanan silang pagbabago sa katawan na hindi din nila maintindihan. 

    “Mahirap silang mabasa kaya we need to initiate the talk and provide an open line when they are ready,” she adds. 

    Value the teen’s independence

    Another way parents can be supportive of their teen's self-awareness is to value their independence and their individuality. 

    According to Belen, "Teens are negative thinkers even if there are positive experiences. It would be up to the parent to foster a balanced perspective, to point out the positive and instill that they are not a failure as they are still developing and learning.”.  

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    Teens tend to push boundaries as they start to question authority, see a different view of their environment, and assert their identity when their characters are still being molded. 

    When parents find their authority being defied by their teenager, Belen thinks that maybe the family rules need to be changed for the following reasons:  

    - They have outgrown the old rules set when they were younger. Rules must be age-appropriate. 

    - The rules must be favorable not only to the parent, but also to the teen. Apply what is realistic to your family and set a middle ground that both parties will agree to.

    - There is no solid rule. There are however, negotiable and non-negotiable rules

    - Make the teen contribute to the decision by giving him a say on what the consequence should be. If his opinion is considered, it will be easy for him to commit to the agreement and this includes setting boundaries on the use of gadgets

    - Parenting methods change and need to be adjusted as our children evolve. We also evolve and as we do, we need to modify our method at a given time. 

    - Society has changed and so should our mindset in accepting what is already happening, like issues on sexual identity and dependence on technology. 

    - Not all strategies work as a whole. Parents need to find which method, or part of each method, can apply to their family.  

    Our behavior as a parent is a continuous learning process. We can learn new ways of responding to our teenager's needs and even unlearn old practices. 

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    Anger is a natural human trait and can be expressed towards the action, not the person. That being said, we can continue to love our teenagers beyond than their mistakes

    Lastly, we too should have the self-awareness to be able to control our own anxiety and take care of ourselves.  

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