Parents need to encourage kids to pursue whatever they are passionate about instead of imposing one’s own definition of success on them or they would be stressed, believes clinical psychologist and parenting expert Dr John Duffy.
Dr Duffy, who recently authored a book titled Parenting The New Teen In The Age of Anxiety, spoke about parenting challenges of today while speaking at The Bill and Wendy Show. Addressing symptoms of increasing stress and anxiety in kids, he said, “We hold a fairly narrow definition of what it means to be successful. What’s amazing about them (kids) doesn’t fit in that narrow definition. So, we find ourselves not celebrating what’s amazing about our kids and really pressing them in the things that aren’t particularly striking about them.”
To understand kids better, parents have to listen to them. “There’s a lot we don’t know about the lives of our kids today. When I talk to parents, I tell them, ‘You aren’t a teenager like your kids…You have to learn from them and you have to ask a lot of questions…The more we learn from them, the more we listen to them, the better off are we collaborating together,” he said.
Dr Duffy also explained how to ensure kids’ safety in the age of internet. Parents may try to take away phones and laptops from kids but they will probably manage to find access anyway, said the parenting expert. “Kids are going to stumble upon things that their minds are not prepared to take in and so we need to teach them to think strategically and be discerning and be thoughtful instead of telling them ‘You can’t do this’.”
So, what do you do as a parent? Dr Duffy explained, “We’ve got to get past the point where we are angry with them or we are shocked. We need to makes ourselves open and available for them to talk about it. The hard part for parents is to take the judgement out of it…Then you can say, ‘Listen, it’s really important that you avoid some of this stuff because it’s dangerous and I don’t want you to have to see something that you are not ready to see’.”