How to become friends with your teenager
Expert session Question & Answers

I have 2 sons, 12 and 3.6 years old. Since it is a vast gap, initially their relation was very nice but off late my teenaged boy and the younger one get rough and violent. Younger one has his way of crying and the elder one gets irritated. It's not always like that. They do play and have fun times too but how to handle them when things are rough?

That’s a good relationship. This is the age situation. 

  1. Primarily do mentoring to your son. Explain him the harmful effects of rude behavior – be it anyone. 
  2. Secondly get your child to respect everyone – even his friends or even any one year old. 

Actually speaking to your son will make some difference.

If I try to justify, my son feels very partial towards the younger one. What should be done?

Get the younger one have some into patience building activities like – sports or music. 

This will make him understand the use of patience to handle situations. Elder one must be given advice & explanation to help support his younger brother. Don’t distinguish between them when you deal as parents. Give them equal chance.

How do you shield your child from rude behaviour/usage of inappropriate language/peer pressure that they get influenced by easily at the age of 10 upwards?

Practically impossible, you can’t shield, but you can always inculcate values – ethical, social and emotional. This will eliminate the chances of child getting influenced. Frankly, you can’t reduce peer pressure – can’t eliminate friends. But you can be more approachable and friendly. Stop scolding if your child has missed some homework some day, then trust me he’ll come and tell you every mis-deed he might have been exposed to.

My sons are 17.5 years and 11 years old. Recently my older son has started revolting. He has crossed the line of respect. Seeing him, even the younger one takes advantage. Being friends with them has rather proved that we didn't draw a line as parents. Please suggest if we can still rectify this

Yes, this is quite common now a days. At 11 years he’s grown enough to understand social norms. Immediate training is required. Give him some tasks and assignments at home. Make him feel that he’s grown up. But regards to 17 year old you must handle carefully. He’s a young adult. Make sure you spend more time with him than his friends and outsiders.

My niece is 17 years old. She is pursuing science and is good at that but wastes a lot of time for makeup and styling every day. Also, she locks herself in her room in spite of us being polite and says a to harsh no to it. How to tackle her? Her parents, including me, are always available to her. Please guide.

First thing to do is stop nagging the 17 year old. Give her the space she wants. This is simple adolescence requirement. Start talking to her about all other things – may be about make-up/fashion/movies/friends etc, which would interest her and make her open up. You can’t simply stop her, but as you get in friendly lines, she’ll start spending more time you instead of locked up room.

I have two sons, 10+ and 16+ years. The problem is with the elder one, even when he was too young since than he is rude in behavior with everyone, when we try to counsel him most of the times he goes in complete silence. Me and my husband never talk or behave in that way to anyone. They are completely not interested in studies.

Important work to do is speak to them about what you see around – simply they might be interested in chit-chats, go ahead and do it. Talk about friends/movies/fashion etc whatever they like. There are certain things which we see around but avoid speaking to our kids, but I advise do that. Trust me they understand everything around.

How do I control my temper if my 12 year old boy doesn't listen to repeated instructions given?

This is not the age of instructions. Further your child is not in the generation of instructions. He needs to be convinced for doing any task. Don’t spoil your image but giving instructions and he defying your orders. Try Carrot and Stick method of management – Rewards and Punishments/Zero rewards. Understand that he needs recognition at this 12 years age. Give him his recognition. He’ll surely do things when his personal reputation (not for society, but his own eyes) is at stake. Appreciate for any small achievement he does.

My teenage son is 17.5 years and his entire concentration is on his hair , abbs, looks, clothes. He wants to give up studies for choosing other professions like sports or arts. I'm worried for his career. Please advise.

Your son build up his own opinion and hence speaks accordingly. Try to expose him to various types of people. He’ll avoid socializing with elders, but would be very go along with his same age guys. So at this age it would be better to meet more varieties of people, may be though movies or direct interaction. When about movies, talk to him about the personality and attitude of the characters. Counselors do this method. Meet an educational counselor if situation is serious.

My 15 year old daughter doesn't seem to want to go to school. It is like a yo-yo, sometimes all is smooth with regular attendance then there comes a patch where she finds excuses to not go. I have checked all possibilities (problem wise) and all that we noticed were taken care of either through the teacher or helping her tackle it with guidance from me. Would like to share that she is very free with me and discusses most of the happenings with school and friends. How do I handle this. Her school is finicky about attendance too.

I still doubt that you have checked all problems ! Sometimes (not always) subject teachers are not really able to make students feel the urge to study and gain knowledge. This is the result of such a situation. There are two options – 1) Try to get more friendly along with her and explain the importance of academics and participation in school activities for her personal gain – personality development. 2) Generate some activity involving her presence in school, like some responsible role. Class-teacher if really supportive, then can help.    As a teacher I ways do this.

How to handle kids asking questions about gender/transgender type of topics when they hear about it from peers?

Give them TRUE Scientific Answers. We simply do that to teenagers. While teaching students about gender and adolescence, we even talk about sex and masturbation. They know everything, if we hide and refrain, then they seek help from un-censored sources like websites and friends.

My daughter is 12.6 years old. We are a close knit family and she shares most things with us but seems irritable most of the time. What is the reason for this? I have heard other parents complaining about the same too

She is in teen – an age of ‘storm and turmoil’. Give her own space when she wants. Speak to her like a friend, as well as a mentor. While chatting, explain the difference between Good and Bad, Friends and Foes. Tell her what your generation used to do (but without any boasting that your generation was good or so). Irritability is the state of her age. Give her your shoulder.

In teenage adamancy and backanswring/cross questioning seems their best friend , how to tackle that ?

You as parent need to have patience. Actually this is a disease now, rather than a problem – because of the current media and other exposures, more adamant behaviour and rudeness has increased in society. Speaking to your child about the benefits of politeness in behaviour is helpful. Show some family team spirit involving movies and chit-chat about the behaviour of the characters in the family of the movie. Don’t ever try to show effect of negative behaviour (don’t show movies like munnabhai mbbs).

Also they are so distracted. How to get them to focus academically?

It might seem difficult, but start doing some full family prayer sessions everyday. Chant prayers like Ganesh Vandana or Hanuman Chalisa. This increases concentration and also don’t make the younger generation feel bored. Don’t try Yoga, as they feel bored and get more distracted.

My son is 16 years old and is good at acquiring knowledge which shows in his general talk, however while interacting socially in different age-groups he is awkward and uncomfortable and gets irritated at this. How can I handle and guide him.

Is he shy? In that situation group games or tasks involving team members is helpful. Check his 16PF test (personality test) if possible – it’s a psychometric test.

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Abhra Pratip Ray - Stay Close While Still Giving Kids Their Space
Abhra Pratip Ray – Stay Close While Still Giving Kids Their Space

Abhra Pratip Ray – Parental Friendship With Their Teenagers

Abhra Pratip Ray is a Professor, Teachers’ Trainer, Educator, Psychometric Trainer, Counselor. He is the owner and Director of Pinnacle EDUCARE(An organization into research of Behavior of senior secondary students and behavioral therapy) and Rays Academy and has been awarded as the ‘Best Teacher by Image Achievers Welfare Forum, Mumbai and the Best Education Mentor award from Brands Academy, Delhi’.

He has written 39 research papers into Educational behavior of Adolescents. Abhra Pratip Ray has recently presented a research paper in a state level seminar. His expertise lie in Parenting & Mistakes, Empowering Girls, Early Adulthood, Parental Rights, etc.

The Session

Abhra Pratip Ray – Parental Friendship With Their Teenagers will be the session he will taking at 5to15 event.