Rev Njue: What can we do about our unruly teen?

Give teenagers opportunities to make decisions and mistakes and avoid endless lectures, threats, and intimidations.

Photo credit: File

What you need to know:

  • In many cases, a parent can try to solve the teen’s problems, which usurps the teens’ ability to think about abstract ideas and develop a systematic plan and think about hypothetical solutions. 
  • Take the teenager as your business venture, discuss the challenges you face, and ask him to offer you a possible solution.
  • Give teenagers opportunities to make decisions and mistakes and avoid endless lectures, threats, and intimidations.

Dear Rev Njue,

We have done everything possible to get it right with our teenager, but he has become very unruly and ungovernable of late. He is also very ungrateful.


Ideally, every parent has high expectation and the best interest of their children at heart. Perhaps you are stressed because the teenager wants to do things his or her way, and the teenager is worried because he or she is finding it difficult to put up with you. The need for autonomy may be leading him or her to be defiant and rebel against authority. At this stage, the teenager is undergoing identity crises, and the struggle to be independent has begun to manifest. Peer influence might have started to bombard the teenager, and modelling has shifted away from the parent. The adoption of a distinctive fashion of the day is likely to be offending the parent, considering that the parent was raised in a different generation. Anger, endless lectures, threats, and repeated warnings will never work well in this case. 

At this stage, the parent should advise rather than reprimand the teenager for wrongdoings. You will win only if you establish an effective control method. The teenager needs to be given some autonomy and responsibility, especially roles that are geared towards maturing them. In many cases, a parent can try to solve the teen’s problems, which usurps the teens’ ability to think about abstract ideas and develop a systematic plan and think about hypothetical solutions. Take the teenager as your business venture, discuss the challenges you face, and ask him to offer you a possible solution. Give teenagers opportunities to make decisions and mistakes and avoid endless lectures, threats, and intimidations.


Ask, don’t scold

 You may also need to ask the teenager a lot of questions instead of scolding. Thoughtful and curious questions trigger thinking and make teenagers give new and exciting answers that would not have occurred by receiving blames. These questions should be asked in love with the goal of building a good parent -teenager relationship that engenders respect and self-discipline. Teenagers learn best by being given responsibilities.  

The teenager may be longing for emotional support more than offering him a quality life. Teenage life can be challenging because they are labelled as rebellious by society at large. Home should be the last place of condemnation. A parent needs to stay very positive by encouraging the teenager and praising their areas of strength. For instance, parents can appreciate the teenager when they put dirty clothes in the laundry bin or help with domestic chores. Enhance teenage welfare by encouraging them new things, value personal strengths, and focus on good things.

Sometimes the results may take time, but all that is needed is patience and love. When a parent expects instant results, parental frustration is bound to happen. How far you go in parenting is dependent on the love and the patience a parent demonstrates in training and their tolerance to the teenager’s shortcomings. If you invest in attainable goals that relate to your teenager’s values and appreciate more of their strength, you can give him or her a sense of purpose in life.





**

Next week’s parenting dilemma 

Hi Pastor,

He is 35 and still under my roof. He has not shown any signs of seeking employment even after having conversations with him. Could he have given up on life? I am worried. Send your parenting questions to [email protected] 


Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.