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TEENS: 14-19 YEARS

The search for identity is on. There is a tendency to break free from parental connections in the attempt to assert their individuality.


Teenagers now feel more at home among their peers. Peer acceptance is of vital importance. Negative feedback about their dress, behaviour or adult generalizations such as 'when I was your age...', 'in our time...', is detested.

The teenager is now capable of thinking, assessing, and reasoning. But the arena in which he/she has to make choices is much wider than the home, and all the more confusing. The voices of parents, educators and elders have to contest the louder voices from one’s peer group, the media and society. This makes it difficult to have a clear perspective on what should be chosen and rejected, or which value has priority over others, or how to gauge the importance of circumstances. This state of indecision and inconsistency typifies teenage behaviour.

Teenagers are highly idealistic and hate hypocrisy especially among adults. They begin to discover their own sexuality and strive to impress those with whom they are infatuated, even spending long hours in chatting on the phone or in each other's company. They enjoy teasing each other about their infatuations.

TEENS LIKE:

  • people who are tolerant
  • people who excuse their erratic behaviour
  • to belong to a peer group
  • to be listened to
  • privacy
  • to be taken seriously.
  • honest people.
  • to tease.
  • sports, music, TV.
  • heroes

TEENS DO NOT LIKE:

  • people who are quick to judge
  • people who are quick to judge
  • people who cannot take a decision.
  • nagging
  • being corrected in public.
  • personal remarks before their peers.
  • or worse, before the opposite sex.
  • being left out or criticized by their peers
  • being betrayed or deceived.
  • dishonesty and compromise.
  • strain or pressure.
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WHEN USING...

RAPPORT
  • Let love be alert yet patient and discerning.
  • Always maintain the links of communication.
  • Encourage peer group gathering from time to time.
  • Establish good relations with the group leader.

REASON

  • Don’t generalize; treat each other individual case separately.
  • Appeal to reason without forcing ideas on them. Ask the right questions and let them sort out the answers. This may also mean undergoing the risk of not being able to answer their question. In such a situation, honesty helps.
  • Give them space. This means tolerating disagreement.
  • When correcting, get to the point.
  • Once reasons are given for a decision you consider favourable, and cooperation from teenagers is not forthcoming, a firm and decisive stand may have to be imposed (which does not mean being harsh or abusive)
RELIGION

  • Propose models for them to follow without being comparative or too insistent.
  • Be aware of their emotions and attractions to the opposite sex.
  • Look out for personality development seminars that may be available and encourage or enroll them. Here too a little coaxing and pressurizing may be needed. If this still doesn’t work, get the leader to attend or get a friend to go along with your teenager.
  • Prayer must be seen to be concrete and relevant to personal and social needs.
  • Arrange a trip to the hospital or home for the aged or any other service-oriented institution.
  • This will help inculcate a sense of generosity and solidarity with humankind.
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