Adolescence is such an uncertain time for kids. Parents tend to underestimate their teens quite often because they think they are too immature to have healthy ways of dealing with situations or things. But is this always the case?
Some teens are very adept at handling many difficult situations. Some of them are even more adept at dealing with certain situations than adults. So, it is a myth to suppose that all adolescents are immature. Here are six common myths parents should avoid if they are to treat our adolescents with the dignity and respect they deserve.
1. Adolescents can’t think clearly. Parents have to allow their teens to think for themselves. How will they ever learn how to think for themselves when they are constantly reminded that they can’t think clearly. Adolescents have to think things through by themselves. And parents could help their kids once in a while if a difficult decision must be made. But they shouldn’t always tell them what to do.
2. Adolescents need someone to make decisions for them all the time. Parents have to give their adolescents space to form their own opinions about situations that are important to them. If parents keep insisting on making decisions on behalf of their teens all the time, how will they ever learn how to make effective and healthy decisions themselves? Practice makes perfect in this case.
3. Adolescents can’t stick with any one thing for long. Adolescents are no different from adults in this respect. Once an adolescent forms a habit, (s)he will stick to whatever it is. However, if an adolescent, as like an adult, doesn’t take the time to effectively form a habit, (s)he won’t stick to whatever it is. It just simply isn’t the case that adolescents are more changeable than adults. In fact, sometimes, adolescents can stick to things with much more passion and intensity than even adults.
4. Adolescents can’t make long-term friendships. Many adolescents have friends for years. Some even have friendships throughout all of their grade school and high school. Although an adolescents values and beliefs may be changing, some of their values will remain the same. And when it comes to forming friendships, adolescents are especially loyal to who they like and not so loyal to who they feel uncomfortable with.
5. Adolescents are unsure of themselves. Not all adolescents are unsure of themselves as not all adults are unsure of themselves. Some adolescents feel insecure and have low self-esteem. But so do adults. So, there is no necessary connection between youth and being unsure of oneself.
6. An adolescents emotions are out of control. Some adolescents feel extreme mood swings. But this is not the norm. Most teens are able to control their anger and other negative emotions. Adolescents who are prone to mood swings may have difficulty controlling their emotions. But this isn’t the norm at all.
Thus, these myths highlight how parents may falsely believe that teens are unable of taking care of themselves, form friendships, or control their emotions. The truth is that many parents wrongly project their own inability to make decisions and cope with negative emotions onto their adolescents. Perhaps we should re-evaluate our criticisms of our kids so that we don’t saddle them with ‘our’ issues.