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How to handle aggressive behaviour in teenagers?

Q: I am 45, married, in govt service at New Delhi and have two sons. My eldest son is 14 years and studying in class IX and the younger one is 11 years studying in class VII. The questions relates to my eldest son. For the past few years (3-4 years)I am unable to understand his behaviour. He is very rough and as a typical middle class father, I too, scold him for his behaviour, even though I know this is not the way to handle him. I have never used violence on my children. The second son behaves well and I am a little closer to him. My eldest son behaves very badly at home and sometimes his reactions are very wild. All his anger is shown on his mother or on his younger brother. I do understand I have some problem in handling him and he too may have some problem causing this behaviour. Every day, for one thing or other, from his brushing to eating food we fight with each other. I feel my reactions towards him are presently disturbing his studies. Of course till date he is above average in his studies. At school his behaviour is perfect and the teachers have an excellent opinion about him. May I request you, doctor, to advise on how to rectify myself so that my son and I can get close and love each other. Please also advise whether any medical attention is required in my case.

A:It seems your sons problem, or rather your problem with your son is due to a dual combination of his adolescence and your discipline, which in some cases you may not realise, becomes extreme. It is a time when your son is going through the maximum changes in his physical, psychological and emotional profile. He needs to feel independent and to some extent, in control. His assertiveness in this regard naturally means you will have to let go to some extent. Most parents are reluctant to let go of their children creating this almost universal tension between them. Since you say that this behaviour is only towards you or at home and does not bother the child at school, it obviously shows that there is nothing wrong with him or his temperament. He just needs a little time and space and most of all your understanding and support. Try and leave him alone at most times while letting him know that you are there for support if he ever needs any. Also, when you realise your folly, like a typical father I scold him when I should not, why do you keep repeating it? Instead of expecting the child to change according to you, why cant you change a little of your ways for him? No medical assistance is required either for you or for your son since this is not a medical problem at all. Just give your son some time and support and this turbulent phase will soon pass. Good luck!

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