It's always up to you!
Recently in one of my coaching sessions, few questions from a teen left me speechless and got me to write this.
The teen's parents had this constant complaint that he is always playing games and is very short tempered and arrogant. When I enquired with him, he accepted it. He started sharing, "My mother shouts at me for everything I do. Whatever I do, according to her is wrong, she is never happy, she is constantly complaining. She gets angry very soon, says that you may end up being poor, you will never succeed etc... and sometimes hits me or throws things at me in anger. But her anger is not confined to me, she is angry with herself, my dad, my brother, our house help, almost everyone and is complaining most of the time." And he went on and on about how she doesn't understand him, how she doesn't accept her mistakes, how she doesn't listen to his perspective Then talking about his father he said, "my father is too busy, he only listens to my mother, he keeps shouting at me for not studying, he doesn't allow me to play games or read story books and on and on......"
Yes! I agree these are common complaints of most of the teenagers. But during this conversation, I realised that he had started to become a mini version of his constantly complaining parents. While we were working on finding solutions for him with these situations, he asked me these questions:
"My father says don't play games, because there is a lot of violence in it. But he always watches movies full of violence only. He is always with his phone and gadgets even while talking to me and when I take my phone or laptop, he shouts. Why is it different, he can do all this and I am not allowed to do it?
My mother shouts at me, she doesn't listen to me. When I get upset, talk in a raised tone, she is shouts at me, calling me arrogant, disrespectful and that I never listen to her. I am behaving exactly like her, then why it is different for her and me?"
That took me down memory lane and reminded me, I used to be such a mother with my daughter when she was a kid. But one statement from my mother in law changed everything for me. She said, "when you are not at home, your daughter talks, walks and behaves exactly like you. It's like she is copying you."
That came as a hard hitting reality for me and I remembered the quote by Mahatma Gandhi,
"Be The Change You Want To See In The World."
I slightly tweaked the above statement for me,
“You be the change you want to see in your child.”
This is not merely a statement for me, but a rule that I created and I live by every single day of my life.
We, parents love our kids a lot and we teach them every day how to do things in a certain way or become like a certain person etc… We tell them about our childhood days, our past accomplishments etc... We also make conscious efforts to watch our behaviours, tone of voice, things we do and constantly work towards behaving in the right way, as we want our kids to learn right behaviour, right ways of doing things etc...
But unknowingly, things change in our behaviour as our kids enter teenage. We expect them to see, understand, do things the right way and we also compare them with our childhood days or with their peers and siblings. This is the time when we, the parents unknowingly enter into teacher and examiner mode and we get busy advising, finding faults and correcting our teen. While doing this, we stop putting in conscious efforts, in watching how we are reacting or talking or doing things and we forget to question ourselves, "am I behaving in the right way or no?"
What we don’t realise is that, “right from the time our kids are born, we are their role models”. Our kids copy us completely in all ways we talk, we dress, we behave, our good behaviour and our wrong actions too because parents are the 1st role models for kids. This continues in teenage and adulthood too...It's now part of them, their hardware.
Our teens may not listen to what we are telling them, but they are constantly watching us and they can feel our emotions of happiness, stress, anxiety, fear etc... They copy us and behave just like us in majority situations. Sometimes their behaviours may be seen in a more exaggerated way, because they are copying both the parents' behaviours at the same time.
e.g. For me as a teen, it came as a disadvantage because my father, though very loving and caring towards me, was extremely short tempered towards my mother and others. My mother was calmer but in situations she lost her temper, then I had to face the brunt of it. So I copied both their behaviours and I grew up to became a very loving caring but a short tempered person. But in case of my daughter, it came as an advantage. Though I was very short tempered, my husband was a calm. So, my daughter became an even tempered person, though she got angry, the intensity was way less compared to me.
So, parents does this ring a bell?
If you wish your teens -
Check if YOU are doing the same with YOUR TEENS?
If the answer is YES, then decide today that,
"I shall be the change I want to see in my teen."
How can you do it?
Yes! every family & every situation is different, so I can share a fool proof solution to it. I can only share what I did when I had the above realisation.
I did 3 things:
2. I started treating my daughter with respect as I treated everyone else.
3. I believed in my upbringing ("Parvarish" in Hindi) means i believed in her capabilities and in her decision making abilities.
To know in detail, on how to build a strengthen Parent-Teen relationships and for many more answers about teenage, you can read my book “Simplifying Teenage”.
Here is the link: https://www.drsmitadipankar.com/book/
Coming back to the story of the teen who questioned me, the advice I gave him was, “You observe your parent’s behaviours, make a note of what you don’t like and you learn how you can work on, not developing those behaviours and become the better person you will like to be.” We have already started working on them in our life coaching sessions.
To book a free inquiry call for Life coaching sessions, Book here:
Parents, always remember you are the 1st Role models for your teen and shall always be!