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Old 21st January 2023, 15:41   #1
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Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

Yesterday met a close friend, and during discussion they opened up about mental stress of handling situation with school-going teenage kid who just now entered puberty age. My friend by nature is open minded, but since kid is still immature school going under 15 age, got extremely concerned when they got to know kid dating another school-mate. They have not been able to openly talk with the kid yet, and seek my opinion. My general advice to them has been to not be harsh with the kid at all, and have a gentle dialog by taking kid in trust.

Considering large pool of wise members of team-bhp, I thought of seeking fellow members advice. Many of us might have potentially gone through this phase, what's the wise approach to handle such situation?

Last edited by techcoze : 21st January 2023 at 15:47.
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Old 21st January 2023, 16:12   #2
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

There are no two ways about it. The best way forward is for the parents to talk to their child of dos and don'ts of adolescent phase and be open about it so that there is always to two way communication maintained. Try not to make a big deal out of it else it will make the kids uncomfortable and make them try to not share things. The kids these days face more peer pressure than we did in our times so better be aware of it.

Last edited by zaks : 21st January 2023 at 16:13.
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Old 21st January 2023, 16:52   #3
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by techcoze View Post
Yesterday met a close friend, and during discussion they opened up about mental stress of handling situation with school-going teenage kid who just now entered puberty age. My friend by nature is open minded, but since kid is still immature school going under 15 age, got extremely concerned when they got to know kid dating another school-mate. They have not been able to openly talk with the kid yet, and seek my opinion. My general advice to them has been to not be harsh with the kid at all, and have a gentle dialog by taking kid in trust.
I am a parent to a 17Y old son, have observed similar situations around his peer group and how different parents have handled them.

It is natural for a parent to feel anxious about their child, as it is for the child to develop interest in the opposite sex. Kids grow faster, experience things much earlier than their parents. It would be a mistake to use our timeline reference to categorize the maturity of the child. It would be desirable to treat the child as a pre-adult, capable of making their own decisions.

With an open mind, discuss the pros and cons of getting into a serious relationship at this stage. If the child would want to continue, negotiate to let that relationship not affect their studies. Just like, we expect them to hold their side of the bargain, parents should also hold theirs. Only broach this topic if that continues to be a problem. If they see their parents are being supportive, they have one less distraction and hopefully manage their studies and relationship well.

The most important thing - Never lose the communication with the child. If parents don't keep the communication open for difficult conversations, the child will close the communication even for fun ones. Only then, the issue becomes unmanageable.
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Old 22nd January 2023, 06:29   #4
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by techcoze View Post
mental stress of handling situation with school-going teenage kid who just now entered puberty age. My friend by nature is open minded, but since kid is still immature school going under 15 age, got extremely concerned when they got to know kid dating another school-mate. They have not been able to openly talk with the kid yet, and seek my opinion. ?
Really! Your friends are not open minded if they got concerned about a teenager falling in love!!! Rather than the kid, it is the parents who are immature. I would be concerned if my daughter doesnít develop attraction to the opposite sex when she is a teenager.

Iím a progressive minded person while my wife is a conservative kind of typical Ďmalluí. I was a male chauvinist in my young ages, but became a entirely different man by age 28 due to my experiences and nature to listen to different view points.

I have a daughter who is about to be 9, I had a discussion with my wife regarding how teens would be. I told her that itís extremely normal for teens to feel attraction (both mental and physical) towards the opposite sex. Especially the newer generation would be more intimate than ours. We have been friends with our daughter from the time she was able to understand things, she calls me by name and her mom as amma (real name when she is angry). Elders tried to scold her for calling me by name, but I told itís ok with me as I know she grew up hearing everyone calling me by name. I had discussed with my wife years back at how to deal with love and physical encounters with opposite sex. I have told her that we will allow her to grow up as a free bird, she will make mistakes, but she will have her back whatever happens. Iím ok with she having a physical relationship as long as it is safe. I have told her that if our daughter starts dating someone, we should want her to have safe relationship and have her use protection so that she doesnít have to deal with teen pregnancy and diseases. I told that I donít mind she bringing the guy to our house, rather than going to some place where she may get abused or drugged. We canít monitor teen age kids every minute, they can easily fool us. (I have done that, so I know how things are at that age. My parents were so strict that I couldnít tell them anything like my infatuations till age 23. Even at that age my father didnít allow me to go ahead with choice of girl, he threatened suicide. He screwed my life for ever and I lost one of the most sweetest person in lifeÖ). My wife was shell shocked (I sadly came to know she never felt any interest in anyone during her teenage). She had a tough few years to digest my thought process. She changed her mind two years back after she had to witness a tragedy.

Couple of years back one of her family friends daughter ran away with a scoundrel. The reason was that her parents were tough task masters and she didnít get love from them and she was easy target for that assÖ. (after marriage she is living with an abusive guy with no education ). Her father is devastated beyond words. He is an high ranking officer in Intelligence bureau and to see that his beloved baby has to live with such a person with no character is too much.

Coming back to your friendís situation. Iím dead sure they are not good friends with their kid. If thatís not the case, start a conversation openly. Tell that itís normal to fall in love, feel like having physical attraction and all. But make sure not to neglect the studies as she (Iím almost sure itís a she as thatís the reason parents are concerned!) will have to have a career and an independent income to fall back on. Ask her to bring the guy home and just him know that she has lovely parents and that he canít take any undue advantage of her. There are more things I can write, but if they are really open minded I can talk to them (I have gone though hell in personal life and have enormous life experiences dealing with teenagers who have committed suicide, landed up as disabled because of stupid parents and all as part of my profession).
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Old 22nd January 2023, 06:30   #5
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My 11 year old girl just hit puberty, and we have been trying to prepare her for the changes over the last year or so. We got a few books (age appropriate) and had quite a few read-and-discuss sessions on menstruation, sex, gender, consent etc., all in the hope that she feels comfortable coming to either of us when she faces any difficult situation. It’s up to each parent to gauge and decide when to have such a conversation with their child, but like someone else said children are bombarded with so much information and mature way earlier with each passing generation.

To quote Kahlil Gibran -

“Your children are not your children
….
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday”


It’s a difficult proposition to live up to, but one I feel we should aspire to. Be gentle, communicate with your child, and hope the rest falls in place.

As an aside, children may develop interest in the same sex (biological) too. As parents we need to be prepared for such an eventuality too.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 22nd January 2023 at 12:24. Reason: Merged consecutive posts.
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Old 22nd January 2023, 12:24   #6
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

The first and most basic idea that every child needs to hear from their parents/guardians, is whatever is happening to their mind and body is natural, and part of the process of growing up.

They need to be sat down and allowed to freely express how they feel first, instead of being told how to feel about something at the outset. The urge to 'correct' them would be strong, it's natural, but best resisted until trust is gained. Patience is paramount.

They will learn things one way or another, the best thing parents/guardians can do is facilitate the process to ensure they learn correctly, from proper sources and material and adults they can trust. They're then far likelier to engage in safe behavior when nobody's watching over them, which should be the ultimate aim.

The number of men and women I've met, who struggle with being comfortable with their bodies and thought processes, even as fully-grown adults, is mind boggling. Most invariably admit that they were neither allowed to express how they felt, or taught about the changes their bodies and minds were going through, properly or sometimes at all, in an empathetic manner.

Young women, traumatized by how menstruation and 'dealing with it' was explained to them, or young men who are embarassed and mortified when their genitals start responding to sexual arousal, and the obvious, difficult to hide visual aspect of it.

Teens are curious and anxious, often scared (esp. girls, blood triggers a visceral fear in all of us), telling them to sit down, shut up and do as they're told is possibly the worst approach to take, esp. by parents/guardians potentially carrying their own trauma of not having been treated with empathy and care in their own growing-up phase.

It bears repeating, the kids will learn one way or another. A parent can either participate and facilitate it in a safe environment, where they can both protect the child and ensure they learn correct, fact-based things, or take a 'do as you're told, we know better' approach and risk the kid exploring their growing up phase in unsafe ways.

P.S. we have a soon-to-be teen in the immediate family. This is our approach.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 22nd January 2023 at 12:25.
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Old 22nd January 2023, 22:17   #7
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

Very good, mature advice in this thread so far. Kudos, and clearly you folks make for great parents. Your children are quite lucky. Delighted to see how our society is building trust for future generations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by techcoze View Post
My friend by nature is open minded, but since kid is still immature school going under 15 age, got extremely concerned when they got to know kid dating another school-mate.
Your friend is not open minded.
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Old 23rd January 2023, 12:36   #8
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by techcoze View Post
My friend by nature is open minded, but since kid is still immature school going under 15 age, got extremely concerned when they got to know kid dating another school-mate.
Many of us might have potentially gone through this phase, what's the wise approach to handle such situation?
My Sisters daughter is of that age and has become romantically inclined to a classmate. We have counselled her extensively and said we were open to it but a physical relationship is off the table till she hits the age of consent.

We have told her it is ok to bring the guy over and have sleepovers also. He used to come to our house parties but the relationship has took its natural course and the kids kind of broke-up. So my sister is relaxed now.
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Old 23rd January 2023, 16:16   #9
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

On a rare occasion when i was alone with my son (13) in a car (you see his mother rarely lets him out of her sight even more so with me alone), i told my son to find his own match when he grows up. He asked why. I told him if he left that choice to me, he would end up marrying someone like his mother. After a long pause, he nodded in agreement.

That was the only true father-son moment we ever had.
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Old 23rd January 2023, 16:57   #10
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

In addition to the good advices on this thread, I would add one thing, kids WILL find out means to do what they want. You can only stop them in your presence, but you will have no control over what happens in absence.

Also keep in mind that there is a possibility that ANY kind of advice being given to a teenager could be taken as a sermon and thus igniting the feeling of rebelling.

Another things is that opening such conversation on "we need to talk" lines is inevitably doomed by starting on a wrong note.
In my opinion, such a topic should start with a natural trigger (perhaps you both glance at someone from opposite gender) supported with parent's own fond memories of the teenage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by srini1785 View Post
On a rare occasion when i was alone with my son (13) in a car (you see his mother rarely lets him out of her sight even more so with me alone), i told my son to find his own match when he grows up. He asked why. I told him if he left that choice to me, he would end up marrying someone like his mother. After a long pause, he nodded in agreement.

That was the only true father-son moment we ever had.

This was a true classic.

Last edited by alpha1 : 23rd January 2023 at 17:00.
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Old 24th January 2023, 00:05   #11
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

Let this come out from the perspective of a child who has had conservative parents: since I was a child I had always wanted to spend more time with my dad as he is always working & both of my parents are non-expressive. As per my belief, parents need to listen to whatever their child says, and pay attention to it. Iíve had parents who didnít give an ear many a times when I wanted to ask something or share something as a kid, they would be busy in their own world trying to make the world better for me by providing for me. They forgot that apart from materialistic things, I need someone with whom I can share literally anything that I want without being judged or misunderstood, in short, someone who is progressive-minded. However, as a result, Iíve become super progressive & expressive. But I feel that every parent should NEVER LIE TO THEIR CHILD, NEVER MAKE A FAKE PROMISE TO HIM WHEN HEíS A KID (always complete the promise), and give their children an ear to listen, because trust me, once they stop sharing, they never start again. Also, when a child grows with you, one needs to sacrifice and see the world from their perspective as well so as to bring change and let life flow smoothly. I have a cousin who treats her son like I have mentioned above and the child is growing up amazingly. This is coming from my personal experience as a child. And as Iím maturing (Iím 21) Iíve started to understand my parents more and theyíve also changed with time once they realised Iím maturing, and so our bond now is stronger than ever. Sorry for the long rant but it is what it is !

Last edited by NarediAni7518 : 24th January 2023 at 00:08.
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Old 24th January 2023, 00:10   #12
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pequod View Post
My 11 year old girl just hit puberty, and we have been trying to prepare her for the changes over the last year or so. We got a few books (age appropriate) and had quite a few read-and-discuss sessions on menstruation, sex, gender, consent etc., all in the hope that she feels comfortable coming to either of us when she faces any difficult situation. Itís up to each parent to gauge and decide when to have such a conversation with their child, but like someone else said children are bombarded with so much information and mature way earlier with each passing generation.

To quote Kahlil Gibran -

ďYour children are not your children
Ö.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterdayĒ


Itís a difficult proposition to live up to, but one I feel we should aspire to. Be gentle, communicate with your child, and hope the rest falls in place.

As an aside, children may develop interest in the same sex (biological) too. As parents we need to be prepared for such an eventuality too.
Love that KG Quote and its wisdom.

The issue is that the guiding bows and wisdom have been sidelined by social media trends and idiocy on tik tok.

Too much digital exposure and not enough comprehension/ processing with natural ebbs and flows.
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Old 24th January 2023, 10:57   #13
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

I am no expert on this subject, but I knew its only a matter of time before I have to go through these moments considering my son is nearing 15 and was showing every possible signs.

Expectation became reality when I got called by the parents of his girlfriend. I was very anxious, a bit nervous and bit angry I believe. May be I was experiencing these emotions, since being from a conservative lower middle class family this is what I would have experienced if I had to meet my girl friend's parents in early 90s.

Anyways, it was a very pleasant interaction and was glad and at the same time relieved that they share the same concern, advise and belief.

But I was surprised, rather stumped by the confident my son and the girl showed up. They were very casually and were like "yeah, we have been dating for a month now, nothing serious, but just getting to know each other. We would have informed you if it was serious"

Next day, took my son for a long drive and spoke to him freely and asked him if he has any questions, concerns or if he need help this anything. I will not go into the details, but we spoke about a lot of things and it was free talk.

Realized that he is not a kid anymore and I cannot be the same day any longer. He had his own perspective, reasoning and thinking. Some of which were different and rebellious in nature.

Having exposed my son to schooling in UK, France and US, I don't think I can impose my middle class restrictions anymore on my kids. They are free thinker and want to learn, fail, getup and explore on their own. Its me who need to adjust.

At the end of conversation, I am glad I could get into a gentleman's agreement with him that, he will tell me everything (mostly, I believe) and I would keep it to myself

Regards
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Old 24th January 2023, 14:54   #14
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

I am parent of 14 Yr old son. And blessed to have a very friendly relation with my son which was possible only because of open communication.

I proudly say - "I am growing up with my son".

My view on the topics related to relationship is - we have to talk to them openly and should explain the difference between infatuation and love.
Also need to check whether they are seeking something seriously, or just because of peer pressure?
Liking somebody of opposite sex is not a sin at all, in fact if it's not so in that age then one has to think - whether everything is alright .

We do talk about matters related to crush, special friend, very special friend, friend zone, bro code, teenage pregnancy, importance of family, career building, cars, bikes, respecting opposite gender, bucket list, importance of studies as well as hobbies, adrenaline rush and controlling it and what not.

Need to take things calmly. If you are not mentoring them then the curiosity is not going to die- they will learn from peers/ friends or google - which maybe anything but reality.
So better speak up and let the curiosity die.
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Old 24th January 2023, 15:58   #15
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Re: Advice needed on parenting teenage kids

Quote:
Originally Posted by techcoze View Post
Considering large pool of wise members of team-bhp, I thought of seeking fellow members advice. Many of us might have potentially gone through this phase, what's the wise approach to handle such situation?
I am a single guy who has seen enough of the stuff in courts, out of court settlements etc. My take is very different here.

One needs to understand that care and strictness need to go hand in hand. Not every child is same, not every place is same and not every child gets the same kind of friends/company. We can think ideally at our place, but that doesn't mean the world is ideal. Always listen to your child, discuss their problems, but at the same time draw a few boundaries too.

Developing attraction towards opposite sex is absolutely fine, talking about it too is. But strictly telling that you don't have to indulge in physical activities is even more important. If I accept the relationship of my son today, it's a fact that he will tell me how he loves a girl, but won't tell me how he touches her. Internet and erotic videos too are being used as a medium of learning (Please don't tell me that my child doesn't watch them because I told him not to).

We don't follow the law because we are law abiding, we follow the law because the consequences of breaking it do scare us. Talk to your teenager, tell them about good stuff - but at the same time, strictly communicate about how the sexual desires may get them screwed.

Everything looks good till it's in hand, once things go out - they turn absolutely ugly. These kids are vulnerable to bad elements of the society, I have seen the cases where teenagers ended up in some hotel room, some friend's place or some other place and ended up getting screwed to end by the mischievous, how to handle that?

As a parent, one has to be a friend and a protector, even if they have to be strict for it. Trauma of you being strict is nothing for your child in front of the trauma they end up facing if they make a mistake they shouldn't or if they cross their path with someone they shouldn't. It's exactly like how we are free to drive, we take the pain of going slow and safe just because that pain is lower than the pain of a crash, make sure your child too goes 'slow and safe', crashing into a third person; or worse, a legal body, may end up causing a life long trauma too.

So, my opinion is more biased towards being slightly strict, mainly when the child is between 14-17, once they have passed their intermediate, they are free any way.

Last edited by VKumar : 24th January 2023 at 16:02.
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