Dealing with the Teenager Student

Adolescence is a transitional period from childhood into adulthood. It is a period of physical, cognitive, emotional, and social changes, that frequently result in confusion. As it is a period of self-discovery, it’s normal for teenagers to experiment. In search of their identity and independence, adolescents often push their limits, confronting parents, teachers, and any other authority figure.

Effective communication is the foundation of a strong relationship between you and the adolescent. The recommendations below can be seen as examples of how a parent or teacher should interact with a teenager.

1.Be a good listener

Listening is as important as talking in the communication process. Pay attention to what your teen is saying, and try to understand not only the content, but also their view and their feelings. Even if you don’t agree with what they are saying, continue to listen and be open to the underlying message. Keep your opinions, views, and feelings to yourself until it’s your turn to talk.

2.Make eye-contact

Eye-contact is a very important form of non-verbal communication. When you make eye-contact, you show interest and you are more likely to pay attention. Eye-contact will also provide you with more information about how the other person is feeling.

3.Be assertive

Once you have listened to them, it’s your turn to talk. Be open, honest, and respectful. Be confident in what you want to say, without being aggressive or passive. If you are having an argument, avoid sarcasm and do not exaggerate.

4.Get them involved

When you ask teens for their opinion, you make them feel valued and respected. You will show that their opinion is important, and that you care about them. Instead of being overly authoritarian, try to collaborate with them to find a solution or middle ground.

5.Don’t send mixed messages

Be sure of the message you want to transmit. Be clear, and don’t contradict yourself. It is very important that your non-verbal communication matches what you are saying. And of course, lead by example.

6.Stay calm

Regardless of what your teen is sharing, try to stay calm! You want to show your teen that they can share information with you without being judged. The more support you show, the more likely your teen will keep you involved in their life.

Understanding the Teen Years

So, when does adolescence start? Everybody’s different — there are early bloomers, late arrivers, speedy developers, and slow-but-steady growers. In other words, there’s a wide range of what’s considered normal.

But it’s important to make a distinction between puberty and adolescence. Many kids announce the onset of adolescence with a dramatic change in behavior around their parents. They’re starting to separate from mom and dad and become more independent. At the same time, kids this age are increasingly aware of how others, especially their peers, see them and are desperately trying to fit in. Their peers often become much more important than parents as far as making decisions. Kids often start “trying on” different looks and identities, and they become very aware of how they differ from their peers, which can result in episodes of distress and conflict with parents.

The primary goal of the teen years is to achieve independence. To do this, teens must start pulling away from their parents — especially the parent whom they’re the closest to. This can feel like teens are always at odds with parents or don’t want to be around them the way they used to. As they mature, they start to think more abstractly and rationally. They’re forming their moral code. And parents of adolescents may find that kids who previously had been willing to conform to please them will suddenly begin asserting themselves strongly and rebelling against parental control. You may need to look closely at how much room you give your teen to be an individual and ask yourself questions such as: “Am I a controlling parent?,” “Do I listen to my child?,” and “Do I allow my teen’s opinions and tastes to differ from my own?”

We’re going through this together, and we’ll come out of it — together!

It is increasingly believed that attending a school that nurtures creativity and bases its curriculum on inquiry-based learning and socio-emotional learning, such as Verita International School, a member of the Council of International Schools, will help teenager students become independent, responsible communicative and self-reliant young adult. At Verita, the learning environment is characterized by purposeful, focused activity in a kind and caring, yet challenging, environment.

“Kindness is at the heart of everything we do here at Verita and we want to spread our message around the globe. You are our ambassadors of change in the world today. We all need to have the courage to make the world a better place through our passion, belief and ability to show kindness to each and every person that we meet,” ends Damian Ward, Verita school director.