Feb 28, 2023
Interpersonal Relationship among Teenagers – How Relations with Parents and Peers Help Teens Become
Parents are the source of primary socialization for every individual. As these children enter into their teenage life, there will be a dramatic shift between the parent and the child.
Gowri is currently 15 years old. She had recently shifted to a new school, in a different city. Having only grown up in the same city all her life, she is making transitions in her life. However, luckily for her, her parents’ workplace is close by and due to their promotion, they can spend more time with her to make a smoother transition to the new city and school. Adolescence is a time of rapid change, emotional, spiritual, and physical. It is the time when teenagers start developing their own sense of self, become more independent, and start exploring the world outside of the boundaries set by their parents. And in the time of adolescence, their relationships with people start to evolve and change. Let’s look at their relationships with their parents and friends.
Parents are the source of primary socialization for every individual. As these children enter into their teenage life, there will be a dramatic shift between the parent and the child. As teenagers start to develop their own individuality, this also applies to their relationship with their parents. While growing up, children are dependent on their parents and parents take on an authoritarian role as they can make a concise judgment. However, as the developing sense of self among teenagers means that they often start questioning the things taught to them by their parents, conflict can arise in such situations. Gowri slowly started questioning the things her parents told her. Initially, they didn’t mind the increasing questioning of their religious beliefs – rather they found it admirable that their child had started thinking for herself. However, when she started questioning God, they became concerned. Being brought up religious and being believers themselves, they were not very keen for their only child to stop being religious. And when she refused to come to the temple for the first time, they were not sure how to feel about how their daughter turned out to be. So, the three of them sat down one day and discussed their changing beliefs. The parents presented their views on religion and Gowri expressed her own doubts about God’s existence. Although they disagreed with their daughter’s new changing opinion, they listened to her line of thought, and all three of them came to a compromise about how they will go about the whole issue.
Adolescence is about growing. It is often the parent’s duty to provide them with a framework to handle difficult situations and have conversations in a civilized manner while being a good listener. By being good role models, they can help the children become mature adults. At the same time, it is important for parents to acknowledge the growth of their children, to realize the fact that they are individuals who are thinking for themselves. It is thus essential for parents to approach parenting in a different manner, where their child is given space to explore yet provides them with guidance.
Another change that Gowri had in her life was a new friendship. Being in a new city, she got a new set of friends with varying interests. Growing up in their own way, she is able to make a group of friends who she can connect with. However, having not known them her whole life like her previous groups of friends, she sometimes finds it difficult to understand and engage with them completely. Because of this, she finds misunderstandings happen. However, when the misunderstandings started happening more frequently, Gowri’s worry increased. She has resonated greatly with her current group of friends and losing them seemed very devastating.
It is quite common for conflicts to occur in friendships, and to happen in any relationship. The importance should be on how such conflicts are dealt with rather than whether they can be avoided in the first place. With puberty at its peak, a new environment, and changing ideas of one’s own sense of self, it is common for friends to have disagreements and conflicts. The role of parents and mentors is to provide them with strategies to help with coping and handling such situations with as much maturity as possible.
In the case of Gowri, one of the main reasons for their conflict and misunderstandings were the activities the group was involved in collectively. While some explore the world, both in real life and the virtual world to be thrilling, some groups found it quite concerning or morally disagreeable. While some found stealing small things such as chocolates and pens from shops to be okay, especially as a fun activity, some friends found it to be an ethically wrong activity. Initially, this caused a rift among Gowri’s group of friends with a lot of cold shoulders and angry messages. But as each teenager confronted a reliable individual about the problems in their friend group, they were able to think about their problems in a safe manner.
With encouragement from trustworthy people, these groups of friends got together and decided to discuss their problems. While they agreed that the stealing was something wrong, they realized that as individuals they are not compatible. This led to the splitting of the group but they all ended their friendship as a group as amiably as possible. Although it ended with a few heartaches and changing dynamics with everyone, they were able to think of the friendship with fond memories in the future.
There is one commonality when healthily dealing with differences and conflict in interpersonal relationships: the ability to listen and the ability to be open-minded. One should be able to articulate their thoughts and opinions well in order to maintain their own personal boundary so that they do not lose their own sense of self. While at the same time, the ability to listen and be empathic also contributes greatly to the development of one’s own sense of self. The thing that makes relationships in teenagers difficult or strenuous are the rapid changes happening with them both physically and emotionally as well as with their peers among them.
It is common for changes in relationships to occur and it is important for teenagers to know that these are all part of life. In fact, this is something that happens even beyond school and well into their adult life. Therefore, it is crucial that teenagers learn the necessary soft skills such as healthy communication, setting boundaries and exploring the world in a healthy manner in order to transform into mature adults.
Interpersonal relationships are critical for teenagers' healthy development, and these relationships with parents and peers have a significant impact on their future success as adults. The relationships that teens have with their parents provide them with a foundation of emotional and social support that helps them develop a sense of identity, values, and beliefs. When parents provide a warm, supportive, and communicative environment, teenagers are more likely to feel comfortable expressing themselves and engaging in healthy behaviours.
In addition to parental relationships, peer relationships are also important for teenagers. Friendships help teens develop social skills, learn how to negotiate conflicts, and provide a sense of belonging. Peer relationships also provide a platform for emotional support and can be an avenue for teens to practice empathy, self-awareness, and emotional regulation.