The First Time...
Ask any adult over the age of 30 if they'd go through their teen years again and they'd probably say, NO. Certainly, the teen years offer the experience of "first times" and those times stay with a person forever. The first kiss, the first dance, the first time "taking a puff" or sneaking a drink, the first time experiencing the roller coaster of emotions and the first pimple. So many firsts. So many trials. So many thoughts of never surviving those years. For parents, when they look at their teen's firsts, they would say they were times of elation, introspection, reflection and hoping they would end soon.
A Time Of Change, A Time Of Challenge
The teen years are those years in a person's life when the body begins to change, from being a child to an adult. Hormones rage, and as they do, emotions spin out of control more often than not. Fights with parents, first love (or second or third), growing, changing bodies, and the uncertainties of adulthood rise up before the faces of what were once tiny, little children. How does anyone cope during those times?
Teens can find relationships challenging. The draw toward the opposite sex is magnetic and often a budding relationship becomes more than either person can handle, very quickly. Never having been in "this place" before, there is uncertainty as to how to navigate the tumultuous waters. Teens tend to turn to their friends for comfort and counsel rather than going to someone older. Parents, seeing their children in a relationship, want to be sure it is the best thing for them. Sometimes, the teenager's choice is less than the parents' expectations and battles ensue. What is a family to do?
A Word To Teens...
When it comes to boy-girl relationships, it is important to ask some brutally honest questions. A teen must ask, "Why am I dating this person?" Is it because of wanting to be with them, or is it a mission to drive the parents crazy? If rebellion is the root, it is time to break if off and move on. Getting to parents by way of another person is not only unfair to the person being used, but it is only a cover-up for what is really going on. It is important to be honest and to deal with the real issue.
Sometimes what a teen is feeling feels like love. Love doesn't always make sense. Sometimes what looks lovely from the inside is very weird from the outside. If parents don't understand the relationship, it can be confusing and upsetting to everyone. There are now two major relationships to care for-the love relationship and the parental relationship. That means that if the parents object to the relationship, it is important to find out why. In order to defend or protect a relationship, one has to know what they are fighting for or against. Sometimes parents are right and sadly, it can take time for a teen to find that out.
...And To Parents
On the other hand, sometimes parents are wrong and even though their intentions of protection are good, they have not understood the situation. Perhaps their objections are based on imbalance-like racism, classism, or religious bias.
There are no easy answers, but there is a way to walk through the fire. That way is communication on both parts. If one side shuts down, then the chances of pain, turmoil and estrangement increase. By keeping the lines of communication open, a family can walk through the ups and downs of the teen years with some sense of balance.