Wellness & Fitness
Conflict between teens and parents is normal
Monday, December 19, 2022
Question: I am 17 years old and my mother treats my like a child. She won’t even allow me to bring my girlfriends home. Is that normal?
Answer: I answer your question with a smile because I understand your concern about your mother’s mental state.
I have not examined her so cannot tell if she is normal. However, I can tell you that many teenager parents experience a crisis in their relationships. This is evident with your mother.
Therefore, it is more likely than not that your mother is normal statistically. This means that other mothers may have similar concerns or attitudes.
A mother and her son were brought to our department by psychologists several years ago to discuss a similar problem to yours.
The young man thought his mother was old-fashioned. The arguments were broad and covered major and minor topics of life.
One example was the lack of understanding between them in regards to spirituality.
The boy believed it was right for him to be allowed to investigate all religions before he could choose the Christian way his mother desired.
On the other hand, the young man wanted autonomy in both his dress and how he spent time.
He tried to convince his mother, but he was not able to get good grades and wasn’t in trouble, that he should be left alone.
Her mother, for her part, insisted that he live according to her rules until he graduates from high school and enters university. She didn’t want his younger siblings to follow his bad ways.
This impasse was caused by the fact that both parties were correct in some aspects and that two immovable rights had collided. It was impossible to move one or both of them without causing injury.
READ: How young people can manage stress effectively
The team realized that mother and son had to get to know each other better, and also to be able to see the common ground in order to deal with the challenges they faced.
Both of them came with open minds and the sessions went smoothly.
In the first session, mother and son were asked to ‘wear’ the sons’ shoes and to research adolescence and the emotional, physical and psychological changes that characterise this phase of development.
Both were surprised to discover that not all of the fights they had were under the control of the young man.
The biological clock that regulates sleep time shifts in teens by two hours, for example.
Instead of sleeping at 9 p.m., the teenage clock shifts at 11 p.m. and instead of getting up at 6 a.m., wakes up at 8.
They were freed from their daily battles for sleep time.
The following week was for the son to ‘wear’ the shoes of the mother. Similar, profound insights were made by the young man. He understood that a home without order would make it impossible for her to raise her family.
The mother, though a bit obsessed in her approach to life, was still fulfilling her duty as the custodian and administrator of order at family level.
They began to understand each other better over time. After a few months they became good friends and allowed each other to have the space and freedom they required.
Your mother may be right in her decision to not allow girls to return home in large numbers, but you must tell your mother that girls are more attractive to normal teenage boys.
Sometimes, these seemingly desperate crises can be solved easily without consulting mental health professionals. All you need to do is get a conversation started between your parents and yourself at a time when there’s no crisis.
ALSO READ: Postnatal depression affects up 15pc of mothers
These tasks can be done by aunts and uncles, or even your parents’ friends.
Answering your question simply means that you and your mom are normal and just need to talk about your concerns.
Send questions to the email address: [email protected]
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