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When adolescence kicks in, your child’s body and mind start overdriving. They face changes in their bodies and at the same time feel alone, disoriented, and scared. This is the time when you notice that your child is being moody, sometimes weirdly sarcastic, and a bit secretive.
You seem to question yourself if you have ever known your kid at all. But the reality is, not only you think that about him/her, but the child is suffering from this confusion too. The changes that they face are making them question their own identity.
This is the time when a child tries hard to understand the true identity, he/she possesses. The objective of adolescents’ search for separate identity is to become independent and enter adulthood with all their rights and commitments.”
The problem is that they are too eager to enter the next stage that they often lose the essence of their current life. And then when this impatience is paired up with their hormonal changes, it leads to many issues.
A recent study stated that hormonal changes have a drastic effect on adolescents’ behavior and emotions. On one hand they are confused all about their sexual development, and on the other hand, they start evaluating their emotional attachments. However, the positive relationship with parents and peers can help in making this period easy for them.
All these things lead to their search for true identity. Experts described adolescent identity exploration as a big crisis of the adolescent period in terms of identity versus identity diffusion. Identity diffusion results when their choices are still unresolved, they can’t make decisions, and they fail to commit to their selves.
Erikson proposed that for a child to truly find his identity, a psychosocial moratorium is required. It is the period when the adolescent is treated like one. They are not given any adulthood responsibilities and are given freedom to be of their age. When given big responsibilities, they might co-operate right now, but later they will face many challenges.
Sometimes, being a parent, we want to help but can’t find a way to or worst, we are not aware of their crisis. So how will you know if your child is facing any issues?
The answer to this question lies in the following habits proposed by, Les Parrot, Ph.D., a professor of psychology. According to him, these are the habits that a child demonstrates when he is having trouble with his recognition.
They try to fit in certain groups that they think highly of, by doing things they want. You might notice them changing the way they dress up, the way they talk, their social behavior, and their tendencies. This all proves that they are struggling hard to make themselves associated with a certain group.
Are you afraid that your child might have started smoking? If yes, then it might be true. Because at this age, they start adopting the habits they were forbidden for, to search for their acceptance and recognition.
They might end up practicing the things that are often associated with adulthood in front of them, such as sexual activity, drugs, drinking, and smoking.
Rebellion calls for being different and separate. At this period, they go against their parent’s choice and value them less and less, thus giving more importance to their peers. They want acceptance from their peers and so they do stuff that will please them.
As explained by experts, they develop this evolutionary sense of being highly concerned about what others think. They start to realize that their parents won’t be around for long, so they start relying on what peers think. This results in a socially constructed sense of their self.
They often make celebrities their “models”. This happens when they search for their identity in other people. They want to experiment with different roles, but in this process, they might end up losing their own identities.
Since they want to be like someone of high value, teens often filter their peers in terms of the characteristics they possess. If they don’t like what they are like, or if their friends don’t offer acceptance and appreciation, they turn to other new friends who might do that.
If you are observing your child closely, which you are obviously, you will see many other changes as well that lead to their struggle with finding themselves. Closely notice those patterns, and take a step forward to help your child.
Finding and establishing an identity is not an easy process for your kid. Being a parent, you can play a significant role in making this process easy for them. First, you need to put your judgment aside and think of the time they are going through.
Most of the parents judge their kids at this age and often scold them for being so different. However, this behavior only makes this period more difficult for them. They feel detached from you and they will never share their current feelings with you. By accepting them with open arms and discussing with them, you can help them so much.
As explained by a study, there are two most important concepts involved in self-recognition. One is individualization (the process where youth is encouraged to find their identity) and the other one is connectedness (a secure base by a guardian to help him find his identity).
Parents can make them have a healthy sense of life by facilitating individualization and connectedness. Here are a few exercises you can practice to make this identity search easy for them.
Monitor their activities on their smartphones and laptops by using a parental control app like SecureTeen. By just knowing what’s going on their social life and what issues they are facing, you can help them in resolving many issues. Most of the identity issues arise from the social media world as well. Notice this keenly and help them get through any issue they are facing.
They already are worried about the changes happening to them. But when parents behave weirdly and alarmed around them, they feel more alone and disoriented. You will notice their hair colors being changed, clothing patterns changed, and many other new habits.
Most effective of all, changes will happen due to their puberty. At this stage, you must calm down and regularly discuss everything with them. Don’t be alarmed in front of them. You, being alarmed, will make them distant and more secretive.
They need encouragement the most at this level. Appreciate them on their little achievements and encourage them to take part in things they love. Find out their interests and help them enjoy those hobbies. Your appreciation matters to them the most. So, don’t lose this essence of bond and use it for the well-being of your child.
Find what skill your kid has. What can he do the best? Encourage him to use this strength to grow more. For example, if your kid is best at making an argument. Instead of being furious on him for this, make him take part in debates. Or the teens who love to doodle can be encouraged to take part in art activities.
Open and supportive communication can make many issues fade away so easily. All you need is to give them some valuable time. When teens develop the habit of sharing things with their parents, they share their suffering as well. And that’s what you need them to do.
As a parent, you need to understand the needs of your children. Especially in the adolescent period, they are most vulnerable and if you don’t catch them, they might fall into a trap. With so many negativities going around, you ought to save your kid. This can be only done if you have opened your doors for them.