Q: How to deal with teenage tantrums?

One minute my daughter is happily chatting with her best friend on the phone and the next minute she might be stomping out of the room, just because I asked her to complete her homework or help me with house chores. Her mood swings can be totally unpredictable!

Answer: As parents we have often been on the edge of despair when we find ourselves in desperate situations, especially when we ask our teenagers to do something and they constantly ignore us. Adolescence is a kind of regression where our children return to their early childhood when tantrums were the order of the day. We need to learn to deal with the new stages our teenagers are going through.

Adolescence is a hard stage for young people, but also for their parents. Sudden changes in mood are one of the most common signs of rebellion in adolescence. Mood changes arise from hormonal changes that make young people more sensitive emotionally.

Knowing the signs of rebellion in adolescence and knowing how to act against them will help you cope with the situation. Adolescence is also an important stage in individual growth, which creates the basis to define our identity. In this sense, many families do not usually accept – or do so reluctantly – this process of independence in adolescence, considering children still children. Instead, it is more common that the teenager will start to feel a “family disconnection”. It is unavoidable and we cannot stop their path of self-reliance or autonomy. Although it is also true that sometimes they become rebellious teenagers.

Often, a teenager can respond indifferently to our displays of affection, or react with anger to an innocent joke. They can also get depressed by things as simple as a pimple on their face.

It is important to know how to handle these situations so that we can address these attitudes, without being permissive about any wrongdoing and maintaining our position as an authority figure in the home.

It’s in this context that most conflicts between adolescents and their family begin.

First of all, let’s think that if we have a positive relationship with them, it will be easier to be a positive influence for them (also negative if we don’t do it well). Also note that if we don’t have it, we will always have the opportunity to build it. To do this, it’s essential that we know the particularities and interests of them as an individual as this will help is to be able to connect with them. In other words, we are going to have to step into their world and see situations from their perspective.

*Set limits: It’s necessary that family life is a series of rules that need to be respected.
It’s also important that there are consequences when these rules are broken.

*Educate: Invest time and energy to improve the education of your children. If we do this, the chances of channeling the situation increase considerably.

*Be firm: in your decisions, and do not hesitate to maintain an honest lifestyle with what we are preaching. We must set an example and make them the advantages of behaving well.

*Avoid comparisons: Constantly comparing them with siblings or friends can damage self-image and make the situation worse.

*Avoid unnecessary pressures: Teenagers have to have their own goals that adults should help to create. However, we should not pressure them to meet these goals.

*Give them space: Unlike the other signs of rebellion in adolescence, this one in particular is the one that most affects parents and also the one that we least understand. At this stage, adolescents are in full pursuit of independence and identity, leaving behind the behaviours that attach them to their parents. Teenagers will often reject our presence when they are with their circle of friends.

One thing we must understand about this is that this attitude does not mean that we have lost their love and respect, or that they hate us. It’s because they do not want their peers to think they are insecure, they want to show a level of maturity.

Q: Can love come later?
I fell in love with a great guy and we get on really well. The problem is he broke up with his girlfriend 3 years ago and still can’t get over the break-up. He tells me he enjoys my company and being with me, our sex life is great, but he is still struggling to get over his previous relationship. Should I give him more time? Can love come later? Or am I wasting my time with this guy?

Answer: Sometimes the love of your life comes after the mistake of your life. This is a statement that we hear often. But do we agree with it? Love comes when it comes. That’s the truth.

Each stage in life is different and it’s not the same to love at 15 years old than it is at 30 or 50. Love is a feeling that is not restricted by age. However, there can be a difference in what we understand as love.

The famous phrase: “true love comes after a wrong love” can be understood better when we realise that love can be different at various stages in our life

There is no wrong love, just different. Love knows how to coexist with what it dislikes. Love manages to turn displeasure into an anecdote on the path of love. If there is wrong love, it is because we confuse love with attraction. The attraction is phenomenal, it’s the first feeling that tells us that we can love. However, it can also remain a desire that doesn’t turn into real love.

After we have left a relationship that for any reason didn’t work, we need time to heal from it. We have to turn the page so that we can start another stage in our life. This will enable us to be with another person and to find new love. People are not bad or good, but different. We all want to find the love of our life and it can come after a disappointment (disappointment means error) and we leave behind (without even remembering) the person with whom we cannot get along.

Life has many relationships and we continually learn what we really like from them and what makes us feel good. If we are in tune with ourselves then we are able to be in tune with the love of our life. Then we can say: “love has come to us” and we will live it with passion, attraction and … love.

Quickly moving away from wrong love is necessary. The important thing is not to close ourselves off from love just because we have had a bad experience.

So, enjoy loving and enjoy being loved.

Lda. Elena Blanaru Lucanu is a general psychologist
at Gran Alacant Family Doctors 24h
Every month she will try to answer your questions,
your name will be kept in the strictest confidentiality
T: +34 610 684 970 I Email: elenablanaru@cop.es