Teenagers can be scary. They like to hide behind their colored hair. They wear pants that are either too tight or too low. They scoff at work and are sometimes just plane lazy. Well, they are teenagers after all. While not a license to totally waste one’s time, it does explain their very distinct phase of life and the changes they are going through.
If you think your child is not acting like himself, you may be expecting too much. Teens are struggling to figure out who they are and what they believe. The only self some teens have is that they are ever changing into a variety of personas until they find one that sticks. The question is, do you approve of the behavior and are the changes in line with your beliefs?
If you don’t approve of your child’s actions, you must do something. Letting a child listen to the negative and harmful messages in today’s media is a big mistake. However, make sure that you have a problem with the content of the music or movies rather than simply its style. This will ensure a decision based on your family’s values rather than artistic taste. These battles won’t be easy but you’ll have a firm foundation on which to base your decisions.
In regards to other behaviors like clothing and being a recluse, you must read between the lines. Who are his friends? Where does he go when he’s not at home? What does he do on the internet? I wouldn’t be so worried about what I am seeing but rather about what I’m not seeing when you have concerns. Teens are good at hiding things.
A teens clothing, his friends, and how he spends his free time must be considered by what you believe to be right and wrong as well. It may seem pointless that they sit and talk for hours doing nothing, but to them it’s very important and part of being a teen. However, if you are unaware of what goes on in these groups, you might want to invite your child’s friends over for pizza giving them a place to be themselves. If they look weird, you must see past that and look for the inner person. Then, If the inner person bothers you and runs against your values, you must intervene; otherwise, you may lose your child.
Teens want something to believe in and they give you a hard time because they want you to fight for them. Everyone else is. Teens need to be taught what is and what is not acceptable in your family. If this is not communicated, they’ll act on the values they glean from other areas, a truly scary thought.