Formative Years of Teen Identity: Dealing with Imperfection

This is true for at least on one day of the teen life, if not a lot, as teens think deeply about their life. I like to think somebody ought to guide our youth to think carefully as they sway in this vulnerable stage. I know they will falter and stand up straight again and they have been doing it for millions of years. But as I ponder, there has to be an easy framework to think of life as they negotiate this separation-individuation phase and form their identity. They struggle to pull away, and undoubtedly parents are held to live up to the highest values and shot down from the pedestal (atleast at one time- in case I hear the perfect families whispering- ‘we are not like that,’ one never knows..).  Really, in life, perfection aside, we are perceived as imperfect. Period. Imperfection is seemingly beautiful and human- in small quantities, right? I may be justifying, but let me get to the point/s. You may throw light on conceptualizing this in practical terms, when time is tight as you help your teen gain insight. Not all are at play, but this is a potential checklist…

  1. Understand some: It is likely that teens talk to other teens and look at life through dark glasses influencing and immersing in nihilism- shared and amped up melancholy. If this occurs in excess instead of tiny proportions, I would alert them to how mind is shaped by experiences and gently help them think for themselves…Stories may be different between peers’ worlds.
  2. Accept some: Teens may find fault, say they think one of the parent may be judgmental or mean to others. It is likely that they are sensitive, a reflection of their amplified vulnerability at this stage. As parent, there is nothing wrong with taking the feedback and improving ourselves none the less, but equally important is to help them grasp that we are vulnerable and imperfect. Your teen too is perhaps being judgmental…Life is work in progress, indeed.
  3. Teach some: Over protection is scathed upon. But, more often than not, it is nurturing and guidance from moms. Helping them understand that is a sign that parents are in their corner and may be take time to explain where you want space and how to help you by us parents behaving differently. Teach mom (or dad) the specifics. Explain and educate, please…
  4. Learn some: Dialogue at some point, when time is right, may go like this: What are the options for you as you becoming an adult? Think to begin with, all the good things deposited in you by your parents, your village, your mentors and all the good people in your life. Reflect. Reflect hard. That is a gold mine. A lattice of valuable lessons from the good, the bad and the ugly may add even more value on top of the straightforward good things. What can you do from these life lessons? You are not stuck. You are building your story. Do something to pave your path. Simplify the seemingly complex haze. Rise above, you can do this.

Hope these pegs will offer a framework for what you already know, bring peace, and add dynamism into your interaction.



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