Late in the middle of the night, you see your child buried in a pile of notes and tutorials, and you wonder whether there is anything you can do to help him/her. Concerned, you sat beside your child and asked how he/she is doing. More often than not, however, they would usually wave you off or mutter impatiently. Depending on your personality, you would either feel anger or feel a sense of helplessness. Don’t.
Instead, acknowledge that they are now growing into their adulthood, and that they are learning how to handle their problems and stress in their own way. Here are 5 tips on how you can be the parent they can rely on during these trying times:
1. Change your expectations of them
Studies show that the frontal cortex of the brain does not completely develop until a person is well into their twenties. What this means is that the brain of a teenager is a work in progress. Their brains are in the middle of a critical stage of development, and they need you to help them through this part of their lives. Instead of assuming they will act and think like an adult, be prepared for impulsive and seemingly irrational behaviour.
2. Do not treat them with suspicions
“Did you really study?”
“I saw you playing on your computer instead of revising.”
JC students have to deal with a lot of unknowns and fears during their school time – the fear of being ridiculed, the complicated theory they just cannot seem to grasp. When they come home, their home should be their sanctuary away from these fears, a place where they feel safe and protected, where they find love and acceptance. When your child walks into a room, your countenance should light up with happiness to see them. Not with a jaded eye and questions of where they have been or what they have been up to.
3. Let your home be a place they can invite their friends over for play or study
Your child is looking for a place to hang out with their newly-found friends. Be a good sport about it. Let them play their music, and make yourself available. You will be surprised how many of their friends might need a listening ear. If this makes you really uncomfortable, it is your house and you have the right to enforce your rules. However, be aware that this would not help the situation in any way. It will make them feel that you do not trust or respect them.
4. Stop fighting with your kids
This age is the time when they feel the need to prove themselves. Proving themselves to their peers, to the teachers, and they automatically feel they have to prove themselves to you too. Do not let it upset you. Refuse to fight with them. Instead, use empathy and develop one-liners, such as: “I bet it feels that way.”, “What do you suppose you’ll do?”, and “I don’t know. What do you think?”. They may get even angrier with you and demand to know why you refuse to argue with them. Let them know you love them too much to fight with them over petty stuff. If you can refuse to take the bait every time they throw their tantrum, you will save yourself and them from having to go through a lot of arguing about things that are irrelevant.
5. Show them you love them
A hug, or even a good night text. These actions might seem small, especially when your son/daughter now prefers to hang out with their friends. However, doing these little things allows you to let them know that you are always here for them.
You can also help enrol them in one of the best chemistry tuition in Singapore and lift some of the burdens off of them. Register them in the classes now!