When you say ‘I was a teenager once’ to your children, you might remember what it was like in theory, but do you actually remember what it felt like?
Do you remember the hormonal peaks and dips, the changing body shape, the desperate desire to fit in, to be cool, to be popular, to find friends who understood what you were going through?
Perhaps you do but for the majority of parents, by the time their children become teenagers, they have long since forgotten what those awkward, tumultuous days were really like.
It’s not something to be ashamed of either. Running a home, caring for a family, maintaining a household is a lot of work (and perhaps you have a job outside the home aswell).
Once your children are old enough, all you really want is for them to be decent human beings and to help out around the house.
Unfortunately, if your expectations are too high, you’ll most likely be disappointed. Teenagers can be moody, truculent, argumentative, volatile, rude, disobedient and downright mean on any given day and no one would blame you for reacting.
However, before you worry that your teen is somehow worse than any other, stop and take a breath. They’re not.
Here are 4 reasons why all parents need to cut their teens some slack during those difficult years:
They feel trapped
Teenagers are in a strange limbo – they’re not adults yet but they definitely don’t feel like children and they resent being treated as such.
Their desire for independence is hampered daily by the very fact that they rely on you, their caregiver, for food, shelter, money, and worst of all, permission to do certain things.
The yearning to be old enough to do what they want is a constant presence so try to keep that in mind the next time they put up a fight when you ask them to do their chores.
They are immature and hormonal
It might feel lazy to blame all teenage behaviour on their fluctuating hormones and you’re right, it is.
New research has shown that it’s the combination of hormones like testosterone, oestrogen and progesterone combined with a teen’s immaturity and response to peer pressure that result in more risk-taking, emotional and self-centred behaviour.
That’s because the part of the brain responsible for regulating emotions and reasoning is the last to develop.
They experience a biological change in sleeping patterns
If you have a teenager in your home, you’ll more than likely be aware of how difficult it is to get them up in the morning and get them to bed at night.
Don’t worry, there’s a scientific reason for this! During puberty, there’s an increase in the level of melatonin, which plays havoc with their sleep cycle and results in the classic 3am-noon sleeping pattern of the summer holidays.
As a result, when it’s time to go back to school, they are often sleep-deprived, cranky and unable to concentrate which can have a significant impact on their academic achievements.
They are dealing with a lot of change
Very few people like change and for teenagers, those years during puberty can feel like one long conveyor belt of change.
Excessive hair growth, body odour, menstruation, acne, expanding body parts, wet dreams, voice-breaking, growth spurts – and that’s just on the outside.
The emotional changes can be just as turbulent with aggression, low self-esteem, depression and unexplained mood swings all being part of daily life for a teenager.