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How do I deal with my adolescent child?

Q: My 14-year-old son is studying in the ninth standard. Nowadays his performance has started deteriorating in school and he has also stopped listening to us. People advise us to take him for counselling. How do I deal with the situation?

A:Your brief letter sums up the general issues around adolescence. The parents should ideally be reading up on the subject and discussing this growth spurt period with other parents. You could of course go with him to a Counsellor, but only after you have identified the specific problem. You will have to see if your parental instructions are given firmly and with affection or just as orders to be followed. It is best to ask him why he is going down in school performance and deal with it rationally and with concern. I think you should discuss the changes in his body with him and establish that he can come to you for his doubts. He will resent being treated impersonally as a problem. You should also make sure that he is not experimenting with alcohol or drugs. He is still a child in some ways, so do not distance yourself from him. Think of ways in which he can enjoy himself at home, without getting addicted to computer games or TV. This will take time and patience, but is well worth the effort.

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