Remember those days where your kids were angelic? Now, they probably resemble more like moody monsters. Connecting with teenagers can be tricky; it seems as though we could never decipher their thoughts. Their unpredictability and temperaments make parents cautious of their own words and actions towards their teenagers.
How are parents going to watch over their teens when they are not even able to connect with them at all?
We toughened ourselves up and asked 5 moody monsters about their parents.
They do get you.
Our teens actually acknowledge that it is not an easy task for parents to raise them.
“It is difficult for parents to be supportive and motivational all the time, especially when they do not understand where we are coming from. Even when they try to motivate us, it seems like they are nagging at us and not trusting us enough to do our own things,” said Kelvin, aged 16 .
Teens like Kelvin find that parents do not understand them, but they do notice that their parents put in the effort into being a pillar of support for them.
Anunya, aged 16 , explained the disconnect between teens and parents, “it is not always straightforward to raise us because we are born and brought up in a different environment from them, so their mentality could be very different from ours.”
But Jun, aged 19, was able to empathise with parents’ frustration with teens. He said, “The most difficult thing for a parent would be to actually watch their child suffer, in pain or get into an accident.”
Good times stick!
Teens do cherish good memories created together with their parents. We ask them to spill their favourite memory of their parents and find out what they enjoy doing with their parents.
“My favourite memory of my father is when we took a day off to go East Coast Park together to cycle and have dinner there. It was fun as we enjoyed the breeze and also got to explore places we didn't know existed in East Coast Park,” shared Ling, 18 years.
Anunya said she enjoys cooking with her mother and enjoys watching soccer matches with her father, even though she doesn’t enjoy the game.
Jun is clearly close to his mother. “I have lots of favourite memories with my mother but one of them is probably when I was younger and she actually lost one side of her shoes. We had to walk home with her limping and wearing just the other side of her shoes,” said Jun, breaking out into laughter. As for his father, Jun said his dad thinks he is cool and loves blasting songs in the car imagining that he is in one of those Fast and Furious movies.
What would their ideal parent be?
We ask what they would change about their parents, if they could.
Ling lamented “If I could change something about my parents, I would want to change the way they have brought me up. They always feel that I’m too young to do anything which is why they do not allow me to explore many things in life.”
“I think my parents could be a little less overprotective and be more trusting of me,” Anunya nodded.
“I wish they would be more open-minded and less judgemental about what I do, or what my friends do,” added Zhao.
Tip: Teens do need some independence. Try to reach a compromise on what’s comfortable for you and your teen. Set some boundaries and when they prove to be reliable, try to allow some flexibility.
Being open with parents.
Some parents feel like they can no longer have a conversation with their teenagers, so we asked our teens what they would talk about with their parents.
Ling said “I mostly talk to my parents about my school work and pocket money as I'm currently schooling. So usually, I will tell them about how I feel stressed up over my school work and they will just listen to my rant.”
Anunya and Zhao prefer to keep their conversations generic and casual, “Day-to-day events and things I did with my friends.”
Jun added, “I’m serving NS now, so I will tell them about army stuff and my experiences in camp.”
Tip: Maybe your teenager is no longer as talkative as when he/she was 3 years old. Teens may prefer to turn to their friends as their confidantes. If you want to understand your teen and connect with him/her, you can learn about their hobbies, read up on pop culture or try playing the games they play.
You may no longer be their BFF but you will always be his/her parent.
You don’t have to agree with every choice they make but they will still need your guidance.
Be patient and be ready for when they need you.