If choosing the apt pictures for their WhatsApp profile and taking lessons on using filters for Instagram stories wasn’t giving them enough stress, they now have the crucial matter of choosing the right subject and career stream. The unfathomable avenues that have opened up for the youth also pose a challenge for parents.
Which shade of grey do we adopt to communicate yet guide, share yet inspire, be friendly yet assertive, convincing but not stifling. Adulting with the young. That’s what adolescent parenting is all about today. Dr. Ruby Ahuja, a clinical psychologist and a specialist in adolescent counselling, says, “The American Dialect Society named the term adulting as a verb which means ‘to adult’. It is the most creative transition from adolescent years to adult fully independent life. In reality, for many young adults adulting can be a scary transition, especially when the process is extended over a period of time. It has been seen that past histories of the families and certain family dynamics influence whether the young adults feel ready to take on the new role. Also, some young people enter into the negative holding pattern as a teenager and are not able to break out of it as they age. Also, especially in Indian culture the dynamics between the children and their parents give enough evidence for reluctance or inability to leave home.”
According to Time magazine, the new generation of young adults go through life stages that other generations have gone through much later in life which means that there are certain delayed social milestones due to over protective parenting styles.
Dr Ahuja says ,”Most high school students have no idea what career they want to pursue or what their long term goal may be as the entire process requires more understanding of the self at a very personal level but since their ideas and thoughts are always guided by their parents or the adults governing their lives they become clueless. Most of the young adolescents face a lot of mental health challenges due to lack of coping skills to deal with these challenges.”
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Schooling and parenting cannot be exclusive of one another and have to be amalgamated into the overall growth and experiential curve of a youth’s development. Kamin Bedi, a counsellor with a leading school in Chandigarh, who interacts with youth from different economic and social genres shares her concerns.
“Adulting has to be very individualistic, we have to be friendly, understanding and caring but yet be an adult so the boundaries have to be every clear and the adult decides that the child has to be corrected, told and the adult has to be firm with the basic norms. There is no compromise in that but the balance has to be a mix of both so don’t please your child with over indulgence, let the child learn,” said Shabnam Singh, the mother of a 16-year-old, who recently decided to visit a counsellor when she could see her son slipping into what she perceived as depressive signs. “Timely help made a huge difference. From being the woman he couldn’t tolerate, I became someone with whom he slowly started sharing and that’s when I realised the turmoil my child was going through internally due to my strict tackling. What we thought was strict now is choking for today’s kids as the influences on them have increased manifold”.
Dr. Ahuja shares a few tips for making the transition easier:
• Do less for your teens than you routinely do for them as a child, it’s time to pass on the
responsibilities. For example, let them cook, do laundry etc.
• Let them face the consequences of their actions. Do not become their easy rescuers and
take the responsibility of their actions off your head.
• Let them solve their own problems and do not give easy and readymade solutions.
• Help them think through big discussions. Present them with options and let them pick out.
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