The teenage is the most transformational period of a child. A lot of adjectives have been be used to describe this period and none would be adequate to really capture what goes on in the life of a child at this time.
It is a period when your son is unsure of his identity any more, whether he can still be called a child or an adult. In other words, he is half child, half adult. Teenage is actually that period when your child translates from adolescence to adulthood.
You cannot successfully cope with your teenage son without keeping the Word of God in view.
“Children, obey your parents in all things for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers (parents), provoke not your children to anger lest they be discouraged” Colossians 3:20 – 21.
You can see that it is not a one-way job of parents stifling their children or children insisting on doing things their way.
Teenage is quite challenging for your son, as so many changes take place in his life at this time, both physical and internal, and he does not even comprehend it all. The teenage is actually your son’s pubescent period when he begins to develop pronounced features of manhood, such as hoarse voice, hairs in his pubic parts, chest, armpits and face (beards), penile and muscular increase as well as sperm production. He will even begin to have wet dreams during which he actually releases sperm and, of course, he will start developing love for the opposite sex. As he grapples with these rapid developments, his plight may be worsened unsympathetic parents, who do not understand him either, hence the continuous bickering and conflicts.
However, what is most noticeable to the parents, since most of the changes are internal anyway, is that their son had become rebellious, assertive and disobedient and insisting on doing things his own way most times.
Rebellious? Well, not exactly. Actually, what is misconstrued as rebellion is your teenage son’s right to self-expression being expressed. He feels he can now take decisions for himself or at worst, should be consulted when decisions, concerning him are being taken. That is fair enough, isn’t it? It is a period of conflict between them and parents but the earlier parents understood teenagers and helped them to develop identities for themselves, the better they would enjoy harmony with one another.
The only problem is your teenage son’s desire to be independent of your ever watchful eyes. He is now more interested in how peers perceive him and resent being projected as a little child before his peers. Peers now wield more influence upon his life than you do and you really need to be ingenious to really matter in his life now and this cannot be achieved by confrontation.
What Parents Should Do
The problem most parents have though is inability that the boat, ferrying their son to adulthood has since left the harbor of infancy and so, they still insist on treating their son like the baby he used to be. Many parents make this mistake. But if you calm down to understand your son, you will realize that not much has really changed except that he has entered another phase of life that is only natural or would you rather your son remained stagnant in his development?
Be Friends With Your Son
To a very large extent, to foster a good relationship with your son depends on the alchemy between him and you. If you are the hostile type that is always shouting at him all the time, you will scare him away. He may grow up’ dreading your presence and would never cry to you in times of need. But if you are the friendly, eager to understand type, no matter how firm you are, he would always trust you enough to confide in you. So, make friends with your son. Find time to sit together and crack jokes. Don’t be fixated on his past mistakes and poking fun at his expense. Cultivate his friendship; that is a very good foundation for developing a healthy relationship with him.
All you need do as a parent is to prepare yourself before time for a day like this. If you are prepared for these inevitable changes in your teenage son, the needless frictions needed not to arise. It is failure to prepare in advance and ignorance of their expectations that is responsible for your inability to cope well with your teenage son.
Well, parents need a self appraisal of their style, whether they are meeting their own expectations as parents or just lording it over the teenager, who now insists on being heard and given his dues. Whatever you discover would enable you to change tactics that would be beneficial to you both in fostering harmonious parent - son relationship. Actually, your teenage son expects certain things of you just as you expect him to behave in certain ways and would gladly oblige you if you do not disappoint in his expectations of you.
Moreover, a lot of parents lack education and would do well to educate themselves by reading books, attending seminars and stuffs like that. Information is power. We live in an information age and any parent that refuses to move with the tide will be backward in noticing the trends and this will definitely impinge on healthy relationship between parents and their sons as result of this information gap. It would also be wise to remember their own years as teenagers and be empathic towards their teenage son, who is battling hard to operate in the two different worlds, confronting him. So, in educating or preparing yourself, you need to be adequately informed about contemporary issues as sex, drugs, alcohol, lesbianism, homosexuality, etc. This will equip you to also inform and guide them well. The world is moving on a very rapid pace, especially in the cyberspace, and for you to be a successful parent; you must learn to catch up with the pace of your teen so that you will have enough positive information to counter the negative ones at his disposal.
Don’t Stifle Self-expression
You should allow your teenage son to express himself, only putting your feet down when you notice deviant attitudes and habits like drugs, alcohol or other social vices. All you need do is to just lay down the ground rules and expectations. All this is not to suffocate your son. You must let him be and have his privacy. There are things that should be off-limits to parents. However, don’t wander too far away. Still monitor his activities without him knowing and be firm in dealing with him whenever you smell trouble. Set the rules and reward compliance as well as withdraw privileges when rules are infringed upon. Your son would willingly observe the rules if you don’t breathe down his neck and embarrass him before his peers and make him look like Mama’s boy. He actually wants to be seen by his friends as being in charge of his life and as long as you allow him to live his life, be assured that he would gratefully do that in accordance with the rules you have set.
In coping with him, you should also watch out for changes, not just in his moods and temperaments but in all facets of his life, sex, wet dreams, etc. Be open with him and discuss all these. An issue like the wet dream or waking up with erection might so embarrass him he could suffer psychologically if you do not explain to him that it is part of the growing up process. Shying away from discussing certain topics like sex education is just saying he should go out there and get the education himself. You only have yourself to blame because you never know who would give him the information he needs and what information he would be given.
These are not the days to be detached from the way your teen lives his life. You need to get involved; get to know his friends, their antecedents and their parents. Encourage him to invite his friends home and interact with them. Who knows, you could spot a friend, who might have the wrong influence on him and you could then talk him out of that relationship.
Let’s conclude this with the most important element. You need the grace of God to nurture a God-fearing teenage son. You can only do this if you remain prayerful and consistently instruct him in the ways of the Lord and raising him in the light of the Word of God.
“Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6.
Training predates teenage. It is how you relate with him as a growing infant that will determine what kind of relationship develops between you and your teenage son. Also, it is how you fed him in the beginning that will determine what kind of man he will grow up to be. So, start early in feeding your son with the right nutrients from the word of God and when the time comes, he will give you peace. Continue to feed him on the word. Pray for him always, to teach him to pray for himself and never relent in committing him before the Lord. Your efforts shall not be in vain.