Q: My son is 14 years old. For the last 5-6 months his behaviour has become rough (towards parents). He thinks he knows everything and does not need any help from me for his studies. If he wants anything and does not get it, he does not hesitate to be rude. His annual exam results are bad when compared to his half yearly's. (He is very intelligent and has always got excellent grades). Moreover, now he cannot stand his only sister who is 10 years old. He goes out of his way to be mean with her. I have spoken to his school teachers who do not find it surprising and say this happens during adolescence. Is that so? If so, how long will it last because it is very frustrating for me.
A:Your son's teacher is absolutely right that this is common behavior during adolescence, but it is very important that you handle this phase of life with sensitivity and patience. Some helpful pointers are-
- Do not nag him or berate him all the time.
- Set limits to acceptable behavior firmly and give reasons for not agreeing to all his demands. At this stage the child"s cognitive capacities are developing and it is necessary to explain rather than dictate.
- Listen to him and show respect for his feelings and opinions even though you may not agree with him.
- Encourage desirable behaviors by praising or by a smile or a pat. Try to ignore undesirable behavior, if possible.
- Do not interfere between the sibling fights. Explain to your daughter that the is passing through a difficult phase and that she could try to remain out of his way.
- Just let him know that you are available for help. Do not try to help on your own but only if he asks.
- Do not take his comments or rudeness to heart but do let him know that you did not approve of his comments.