Many parents approach us about teenage behaviour issues. I understand the worry and anxiety they go through while handling adolescents. A sudden change may freak out the parents. Yes, it is difficult to differentiate between normal teenage behaviour and the symptoms of most anxiety disorders.
But there is a difference!
Let us start by listing the typical teen behaviours.
Locked room and phone: children at this age will start seeking independence. They will also start acting in a culturally unacceptable way. Which they may not want parents to know.
Mood swings: the adolescents display unstable mood. They get affected by issues easily. Mostly we tend to blame it on the physical change they go through.
Seeking independence: adolescents seek independence. They may not be able to handle it at the same time and take wrong decisions.
Reacting defensively: during arguments or while getting simple instructions they react defensively.
Being self-conscious: parents observe an increasing level of self-consciousness. Teens pay attention to the social self and it is directly linked to self-esteem.
Interpersonal relationships: peer pressure and getting attracted towards the opposite sex are the most important symptoms of teens.
According to Erik-Erikson a famous psychologist, adolescents go through identity development. They want to explore the world and find out what they want to be. On the other hand society (all of us) wants them to have a different social role to play. For e.g. a teen may want to be a musician and skip schooling to go to the music academy. On the other hand, a parent may want the student to complete schooling.
Even if the teen behaviours are sometimes anxiety-provoking, they are normal and can be handled. Open and non-judgmental communication is the key to dealing with such issues.
Creating a safe environment for the kids: We already create a physically safe environment for the children. Do we also work towards creating emotionally safe homes As adults, we need to introspect about why a child feels the compulsion to hide information, lock the room and spend less time with the parent. Are we ready to accept the fact that children are growing up and want to do things or take decisions individually Can we absorb that our values may differ from them If we are able to answer the question successfully, the children will not feel the need to hide even when they are in trouble.