Have you ever felt that your children sometimes like to provoke you “on purpose”? How many times have we lost our temper when they did this? Some might say this is due to the parent’s egotistical attitude in raising the child and his (the child’s) desire to gain attention. I’m inclined to agree because I feel that parents typically do have their own expectations which often might be too high for the children to achieve.

This kind of expectation exists when parents do not consider their children’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s often motivated by the underlying need to boast about their child’s ability and compare them to others.

Why would a child purposely unleash their parent's rage? In the case of young children, it’s not normally their intention to enrage their parents. They genuinely want to have fun, play and satisfy their curiosity. However, sometimes their enthusiasm and energy may go beyond their parent’s limits, thus causing frustrations. Meanwhile, it’s slightly trickier with teenagers. They’re more prone to intentionally instigate a fight or induce parent's anger as a sign of protest or dissatisfaction on certain issues.

Factors such as the children’s environment and influence from friends may also contribute to this behaviour. If they’re always exposed to conflict and tension, they’re likely to act destructively. Additionally, for teenagers, peer pressure can be a huge contributor in shaping their character. If they mix with people who behave harshly with their elders, they could pick up on this habit too.

The way to ease this problem is to ensure that the atmosphere at home is always harmonious. Handle emotions with care when dealing with family members. Try not to bring any work pressure into the household. Respect your children, try to understand what they’re going through and see the world from their perspective sometimes.

LET THE KITE SOAR

If you’re a teenager reading this, try to understand that parents only want what’s best for their children. Sometimes their way might not fit with your will. That’s okay. They’re just worried about the dangers and challenges that await out there. Parents just want to ensure that their child doesn’t squander their teenage years by getting involved in unhealthy activities that will jeopardise their future.

When interacting with parents, always be respectful – even if you disagree with their opinions and methods. Find a way to communicate openly, listen to their reasons before reacting and be attentive. The same goes to parents. Always communicate with an open heart and mind. Hear your children’s arguments and frustrations before making judgements. Strive to understand the conflicts teenagers face, trust them by giving some space to make their own decisions. Most importantly, find a way to discuss everything positively by ridding any ego or prejudice.

At the end of the day, relationship with adolescents is like playing a kite. Our string shouldn’t be too constricting or completely loose. Assess the situation and act accordingly.

Give them space and freedom but still within boundaries. Discuss and agree on the boundaries beforehand. Be gentle with them because their emotions are sprouting. Set a good example and build back the trust. Start by apologising for not understanding their situation in the past. When we do this, we can look forward to seeing the kite soar into the sky happily.

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at [email protected].