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Sources of Conflict between Teens and Parents and Their Repercussion

Dr. Laurence Ajaka was interviewed by TV Presenter Pamela Hneini on Mariam TV’s Morning Show “Al Maw3ed”.

The generation gap is an instrumental challenge facing parents and children, and it is most blatantly obvious within the teenage years where hormones and misguided sense of maturity clashes with authoritarian attitudes and rigid adherence to traditions. How can this rough patch be smoothed over to forge the respect and friendship necessary for a cohesive family unit?

The delicacy of the teenage years is due to the transition between childhood and adulthood with all the tribulations it entails. It is the stage where parents need to bridge the inevitable gap that will occur between them and their children. Girls as young as 10 and boys as young as 12 start off on a turbulent journey when they are propelled into a new and foreign territory where they have to blindly stumble around for the right path. It is the parents’ responsibility to step up and handle their duty of raising the offspring they willingly brought into this world. Shipping off the care of this task will cause a rift that admonishes the control and influence parents need to have over their children.

The new generation is faced with astronomical challenges that no generation has ever had to face, so we cannot even contemplate using antiquated methods employed before. Every type of knowledge and perversion are so easily accessible by the materialistic comfort parents provide. Today’s parents think that is enough, but the availability of such a landscape makes it harder for them to govern the actions of their children. What they do not realize is that the unfilled position of guiding parents will be occupied by someone else, albeit good or bad. It might be by the caretakers we entrust our children to or just as likely the juvenile delinquent friend that will introduce them to vice.

When these children feel abandoned by their parents, they will grow to resent them. Lecturing children without proper guidance will only spark umbrage and animosity. The economic situation is not enough of an excuse for abandoning their kids. The cost of rolling back on the quality of lifestyle is a fair exchange for the love and tender care that the children will receive.

What use is it to have piano lessons when we still haven’t taught them how to acquire the depth of feeling to appreciate them?

The youth of today are smart enough to exploit the guilt parents will feel for abandoning them for work and use it as a manipulation tool and a ready excuse to justify their refusal to follow orders. How can parents expect blind obedience and acceptance for orders if their children do not respect and trust them? Even though young, they have vital emotional requirements to assuage the fear and uncertainty that puberty brings. They need the delicate balance of having emotional and practical freedom to explore and grow while still being under the watchful eyes of parents who are obliged to be conscientious enough to nudge them in the right directions. And the way to acquire the tools for such a task is by getting to know these children and finding out what motivates them. Giving our random orders with no proper justification is a thing of the past.

Some changes will propel children out of control especially when it comes to hormones. Their once placid existence is thrown into utter turmoil by alien feelings and mood swings. There are so many challenges to fit in and have a recognizable status within the hierarchy of the teenage world. What was once a simple exchange between sexes develops into a ritual so complex that it might as well brand their future relationships. And even though parents think they have the knowledge having gone through teenage years before, the new social standards will be vastly different. The years of emotional distance and the hormonal balance will cloud parents’ perception of what being a teenager is. It’s so crucial that parents take the initiative to understand the pressures their kids are facing and learn how best to help them navigate their newfound life.

Our culture is one that blames teenagers instead of aiding them. We think that their acting out are the ravings of senseless rebellion when all psychologists realize how torturous being a teenager is. In some extreme cases, the lack of control can be likened to symptoms of bipolar disease. And instead of seriously considering the ramifications of such extremity, they are neatly tucked away as any sort of mental imbalance is a taboo in our society.

Today’s parents are not given to understand the importance of communication before and after marriage, so they fail to maintain a genuine connection with their children. Parents are not interested in following up with the best means of learning proper education methods. They are ignorant about what educational parenting is. In the midst of all the chaos of life, parents and children spend next to no quality time where they get to know each other properly even though they are as close as possible. We cannot ignore the strength of the gene pool that unites them, so who better than parents to interpret and guide their own children? Who is better to interact with them? Is it the stranger at the nursery or the fencing coach? Or is it the parents?

Women especially take affront with being stay-home mothers or leading part-time careers. They want the grind and ambition that men have which is acceptable by itself. However, once women, and indeed men, choose to have kids, they must become aware that their needs and wants should take the backseat to the needs of their children. Even the simple act of preparing a meal infuses the child with warmth and happiness. It makes them feel loved and taken care of. Your new responsibility is the greatest calling mankind has to offer because it molds the very future of our species. Mothers should become aware of the enormity of their task and take pride in it instead of looking at it as a crutch holding them back.

All of the activists are invited to educate the parents of today. They must be put through courses that prepare them for parenthood in the midst of a challenging generation. Proper parenting is not about pacifying children or finding ways to control them so that the mother and father can have peace. The ignorance that this generation of parents is exhibiting is an ominous prediction of a bleak future unless a genuine change has been brought forth.

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