Why teenagers become ‘allergic’ to their parents has been revealed
Parenting expert reveals why teenagers become ‘allergic’ to their parents – and the four rules caregivers should follow to cope with it
- An expert has revealed why teenagers become ‘allergic’ to their parents
- Dr Justin Coulson said behavioural changes are important in development
- He has shared four rules parents can follow to help them navigate these years
Parents having tumultuous relationships with their teenage children isn’t uncommon but an expert has revealed why this happens in the first place.
Australian parenting author and father of six, Dr Justin Coulson, explained that this change in behaviour is an important part of the developmental process.
‘As hard as it is to experience, it is developmentally appropriate for teens to pull away from their parents,’ he wrote for his website Happy Families.
‘It’s called identity development, and it’s essential for our adolescents to do this to become fully functioning adults, to develop their own sense of who they are and to create their own personalities, with individual opinions, ideas and experiences.’
‘As hard as it is to experience, it is developmentally appropriate for teens to pull away from their parents,’ Dr Coulson said
He explained that some teenagers find it easier to become ‘themselves’ by turning away other humans.
Although it can lead to opposition, frustration and retaliation, parents need to understand that this behaviour is part of the process of growing up.
‘Teens and parents do clash, but it doesn’t have to become an “allergic” relationship,’ he said.
The father-of-six revealed that there are four rules parents can follow to help them navigate through the ‘teen years’.
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Australian parenting author and father of six, Dr Justin Coulson, explained that teenager’s becoming ‘allergic’ to their parents is an important part of the developmental process
Rule #1: Stay close to your kids
He said that teenagers need love too and they want their parents involved in their lives, even if they don’t act like it.
‘Being involved doesn’t mean constantly telling them what to do though. In fact, this is the time when the parent-teen relationship should become less authoritarian and more egalitarian,’ he said.
‘If our teens feel that we are constantly telling them what to do, giving them correction and direction, it doesn’t work out so well.’
Dr Coulson said research has shown that teenagers best deal with the upheaval of these years when parents take time to listen and talk to them.
Rule #2: Give them limits
Although most teenagers don’t want limits it’s important that they have boundaries as they keep them safe.
He said that it is the job of parents to set sensible limits without them feeling like an injustice has taken place.
‘Create natural and realistic boundaries, with their input, so they feel secure but still have the space they need to feel a sense of independence,’ Dr Coulson said.
And though we shouldn’t make too many hard and fast rules, we need to stand by the ones we do make.
Parents also need to pay close attention to their moods, get to know their friends and keep an eye on their school work.
He explained that some teenagers find it easier to become ‘themselves’ by turning away other humans (pictured with his family)
Rule #3: Have fun together
‘One of the best ways to develop a more equal adult relationship with your child as he grows is to find a mutual interest,’ Dr Coulson said.
He recommended that parents and children find an activity that they both love and do it together.
This allows everyone to get to know each other in an entirely new way and feel close to each other again.
Rule #4: Ensure there are other trustworthy adults they can turn to
Dr Coulson said that not all teenagers may feel comfortable talking to their own parents about their problems.
This is why parents need to ensure they have other supportive adults they can go to.
‘By incorporating these rules, we can stay close to our teens, even when they are feeling “allergic” to us,’ he said.
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