How Changing Stereotypes Can Help Teens Shine?

It was raining hard, and Hassan wanted to play football in the ground. He thought that nothing could be more fun than kicking the ball and splashing water at the same time, basically just the idea of playing football in the rain fascinated him. But then he thought, nobody’s going to let me play. So, he sat there on the balcony with a sad face. The thoughts of breaking the cage and going out were frustrating him. The negative thoughts were constantly juggling in his mind and while thinking of substantial ways to escape, he was continually trying hard to figure out a way to escape.

A moment later, Hassan’s parents realized something’s not okay about Hassan’s behavior so they went up to him and asked, “What’s bothering you?” He replied, “Nothing, I just want to play in the rain but I know you will refuse so I’m just sitting here, waiting for the rain to stop so I can go and play later”. His mom said, “Of course we don’t want you to get sick”. This brought more conflicting thoughts in Hassan’s mind and he escaped to his room.

Parenting a teen is the most challenging task. Parents usually feel like they are not good enough for their teens but in actual, that is just the opposite of it. On the contrary, teens are always complaining that they’re not getting enough from their parents.

Nowadays, teens have no time to interact much to get to know their parents beyond stereotypes and myths. Parents on the other hand, view teens as human fungi with attitude. This all sounds so funny but in fact they accuse each other of having evil motives. Speaking of which, let’s have a look at some of the teen myths.

1. My Parents Don’t Want Me to Have Fun
If you are a teen and you are reading this, probably you’re smiling at this because you believe the same myth. Okay, so we need to know how this works for teens. Here are two classic conflicting needs:

a) Teens are always looking forward to adventures and new experiences. They do not think about the consequences but step into new ventures.

b) Whereas, parents’ need to know their children are safe and most of us would be on the parents’ side for this because the parents are not wrong here. It is not only their need but also their duty as well to make sure that whatever their teens are doing, and wherever their kids are, they should be safe.

2. My Parents Care Only About What I Do for Them
This myth says that parents are always looking for a payoff from their kids, which is not really true. Parents may in actual expect from their kids to help them with household chores and comply to them but they never want a payoff. A lot of parents take pride in their teen’s achievements, but they do not rely on them. So, this myth is groundless.

3. My Parents Have No Idea What It’s Like to Be A Teenager
A teenager is open to new challenges and adventures. It is the most memorable time of one’s life. Teenagers usually believe that their parents are not aware of what their teen is up to. Parents might be a little clueless about your life but they know if you are going through something. Teens should start bonding more with their parents because spending more time with your parents is always going to help you and build your relationship stronger. Teens should always turn to their parents if they get stuck in the middle of something because no one other than your own parents will help you out. They give the best advices, not every time but most of the time. A parent knows their child more than any other relation. Parents do get extra possessive about their offsprings because they are concerned and get worried if they fall into trouble. Teenager should deal with their parents in a patient and respectful manner.

4. My Parents Control My Life
Teens need to understand that parents are only trying to watch out their children because they care about them and want them to learn how to be responsible. When a child goes to school, he learns and adopts from his environment and people around, and a school going child is more vulnerable to destructive behaviors. Parents have a valid reason to keep an eye on you because teenagers do not understand the right and wrong and they only go with the flow of their energy. It is parents’ responsibility to make sure their child is safe.

The biggest factor in a child’s success depends upon how they perceive themselves and the kind of decisions they make based on their self-confidence. Parents play role as an influencer. They always guide you the right path to follow. You need to know that you are not a loser, because doing so might actually make you look like one. This is the stage where you may derail and having your parents by your side is only going to make you stronger and more successful. Your parents are scared for you, they genuinely care about you and they deserve the credit for that. You need to give yourself a gift of setting your goals and going after them.

5. My Parents Don’t Want Me to Grow Up
Your parents will always welcome you if you need their help but the myth that they don’t want you to grow up is not so true. In fact, parents are the only creatures who want to see their children growing more successful than them while making reasonable decisions and being accountable for their actions. Parents want their children to take the responsibility of their life and think ahead in life. A child needs to know about his goals. He needs to be responsible enough to face the upcoming challenges in his life. Most importantly, he needs to learn how to deal with his problems keeping in mind the personal safety issues. Your parents only want you to learn interdependence.

6. My Parents Will Never Change
Your parents are definitely going to change when you change. Parent-child bond is an unbreakable unique bond, which keeps growing over time. Teens usually feel like their parents are becoming too clingy or interfere in their life but, if you think that is affecting you, you need to change yourself because what else do you expect from your parent. I am pretty much sure that you wouldn’t want it to be the other way around. You are lucky that you get attention from your parents.

None of you wants to stay on the same page of the book for the entire life. Everyone wants to move on and grow up. Once you think you are ready to face the hardships and challenges of life, all you have to do is to make your parents feel that they have done their job well and you are a responsible being now.

7. My Parents Never Forget My Screw-Ups
Teenagers usually complain that their parents never forget about their screw ups and it makes them feel guilty, but teens do not realize when and how many times they have disappointed their parents. Children nowadays only know how to complain. They should rather focus on how to make the situation more favorable for themselves and use their parent’s feedback in a positive manner as motivation. Teens really need to learn how to be more “sensitive” to people around them. They should be given “sensitive training”. Parents get tired of criticizing their kids. It’s no fun for them. They only want them to learn how to behave and act responsible. Parents use the bad stuff until you overwhelm them with the good stuff. Teens need to give their parents some pleasant memories to replace the bad ones.

8. My Parents Don’t Respect My Opinions
Parents do respect their child’s opinions aside from a few times that maybe your opinions did not make any sense, or maybe your way of reaching them out wasn’t so impressive. You need to do a little homework if you want to be heard so, they don’t get a chance to turn you down. Parents are there to fulfill your demands and entertain your requests in their capacity but you need to keep in mind that your every demand or request might not be fulfilled. Here’s a small strategy if you’re demanding their attention, instead of talking in bits and fragments, command their intentions with true insights with power of words and thoughts. You can do that by simply offering them tea with their favorite snacks or just write a note from heart. This step will do the job.

9. My Parents Think They Know Everything
Parenting is not an easy role. Most of the times, parents feel confused about how to deal with their teens mainly because they are impulsive and loaded with energy. If parents give a free hand to their teen, this will make them go crazy around the world. A child needs to be sensitive about his parent’s insecurities and feelings. If you feel like your parent is giving you tough time, you should try self-reflection. Change yourself first and things will change. Give yourself and your parent the opportunity to grow.

Author: Arooba Laraib
Clinical & Counseling Psychologist,
Family First Institute

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