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Teenagers want to be as free as possible in what they do. Curious parents who are constantly worrying get on their nerves. But how much freedom is legitimate? Where and when do kids need to feel their limits? And where, on the other hand, should parents loosen the leash a bit?
In the afternoon, after school: the kids come home. At the dinner table, mom is already waiting, asking, “How was school?”
Questions like these are sometimes enough to send teenagers into a frenzy. At best, you get a vacuous response or an “I don’t want to talk about!” At worst, the child responds by storming out of the room in a huff.
Worried mothers and fathers then quickly think too much about what happened. They think, “Something must have happened. Otherwise he/she wouldn’t react so aggressively! I need to find out what’s going on”. Asked again about the day’s events, the child usually reacts annoyed.
But, why all this? What is it about pubescents that makes them dislike certain questions?
Especially in the situation described above, kids quickly feel controlled by their parents. To a teenager’s ears, the question “How was school?” goes something like this: “Did you keep up in class? Have you been good? How about your performance? Did you do anything wrong?” Sensitive teenagers interpret all this into their parents’ question.
But the parents themselves also get a lot of things wrong. If they chase after the angry child in order to clarify the alleged school misconduct, they violate their children’s privacy and need for retreat.
What to do in such a situation?
Try a greeting that sounds less negative to your child. A greeting like, “I’m glad you’re here” or similar, will make prickly teens more willing to talk. Gently feel your way along, such as, “How are you doing today?” or “Did you have fun at school?”
Don’t immediately assault your child with the “how was it” question when he or she gets home. Let him take a breath and eat in peace. In the afternoon, give your child a chance to take a break from the school day and relax a bit.
Also keep in mind that teenagers are usually more open with their parents when they are out of the house. At a coffee shop or grandma’s house, they are relaxed and more willing to talk about their day.
In Love? How Sweet!
The time of puberty is not only exhausting and nerve-racking for kids. Worried parents can also react to their child’s changed nature with stress. More and more reasons are provided to worry. The balancing act between freedom and control occupies the mind and presents parents with a major challenge.
Many people feel the same way when their child falls in love for the first time. Actually, that would be a reason to be happy, wouldn’t it? However, parents of pubescent girls in particular worry first and foremost whether their first love will not have a negative influence on their own child.
Especially when it comes to love affairs among 16-year-olds (or older), you quickly feel powerless as a parent. Now the child is allowed to drink alcohol and often has a very close relationship with his clique. The own parents are excluded from this world.
At the latest, when the child disappears into the room with his new crush, some parents feel queasy. Topics such as sex education and especially sex hover in the room.
What to do when the child is in love?
Even if the temptation is great: Do not disturb the kids. Especially not under an ill-considered pretext. Always keep in mind that the relationship is a private matter for your child. This applies at least from the age of 14 to 16.
The basic prerequisite for a trusting “live and let live” relationship is open discussion. Your child should be informed. In addition, for girls, it helps to have an agreement to talk to each other again about the topic if they intend to have sex. Be aware that this would happen sooner or later anyway – you are powerless in this regard, so to speak. So making sex and contraception taboo does more harm than good. Instead, signal that you will support your child as soon as he or she needs contraception.
Explain Yourself And Your Fears
Once the boyfriend or girlfriend is out of the house, calmly ask. Is your child happy in his or her relationship? Also, is the child not being coerced into doing something he or she doesn’t want to do?
Proceed gently and establish certain ground rule.
What Friends? What Kind Of Party?
While in the first years of upbringing you still know all your friends as well as their parents, things look quite different during puberty.
Unknown friends suddenly play a role in the child’s life. If you ask, you’ll hear comments like “Don’t know them”.
It’s only natural that parents worry about their children when they no longer have an overview of their circle of friends. After all, the safety of the offspring is at stake.
Should I Spy On My Child?
Of course, it’s not a good idea to stalk your child in secret. If there is a party at someone’s house that you do not know, proceed as follows.
- Have your child give you the parents’ phone number and names.
- Talk briefly with the parents. Feel free to ask if alcohol will be a factor at the party and if the parents will be around.
- No parents around? Please do not let your child “party” if no adult is present. When there is “no one around”, teens tend to overestimate themselves or allow their peers to push them into unreasonable actions.
How Long Can A Teenager Go Out?
If the kids want to party away from home, it’s best to remind them of the law. That means for German teenagers concretely.
- Up to 14 years: evening out until 22:00 (cinema: until 20:00).
- Under 16 years: Evening out until 24:00 (cinema: until 22:00).
- Discos may be visited by teenagers only from the age of 16 with a parent or guardian (an adult) and a mummy’s note.
- From the age of 16, teenagers are allowed to be out in discos until 24:00.
These rules can be relaxed somewhat for private parties. The basis for this is the presence of an adult as well as the mutual trust and previous behavior of your child.