By Salt 106.5 Network Wednesday 30 Nov 2016
When you hit the teenage years it can throw parents when they find out what type of teen they actually have.
After I wrote about raising great teens it occurred to me that some teenagers are more challenging than others. They come with a more complex mix of qualities that need some careful management and training. That got me thinking about the different types of teenagers that parents have under their roof.
Are there types of teens?
Yes, I think so. Each teenager is an individual, but there are character traits that when combined make a type.
Think about the adults you know. There’s the worry-wart who always seems to think the worst is going to happen. There’s the die hard collector who can never part with anything for fear that it might be useful. Oh, and what about the battalion commander? That person who could organise an invasion and still be ready an hour early.
Here are six teens I’ve seen plenty of times in my life.
The ‘Roller-coaster’ Teen
This is the one most people think of when they picture a teenager.
With up and down moods, they can leave everyone else walking on eggshells. This type of teen loves company in their moods, so they’ll often try to drag others in to feeling the same way. Resist! No good can come from you and your teen both being grumpy.
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Parents with these teens often spend their first hours wondering what mood their kids will wake up in. There’s a little happy dance if it’s a good one, and a sigh if it’s not.
Don’t tolerate their negativity. Send them off on their own for a while and see if they can’t snap out if themselves.
Be on the lookout for depression with these teenagers. There’s often a lot of thinking behind the moods, directed at judging themselves. So if they get stuck they may need some help to get through it.
The ‘Easy Street’ Teen
Do you know a teenager with a casual approach to life? Sometimes a bit too much. They put in the least effort on just about everything, but they’re also likely to be easy to get along with. They just go with the flow.
Don’t let their lack of motivation get you down. These youngsters need firm boundaries and a bit of pushing. Particularly with their school work and chores. And introduce them to the adult world early on. Help them to develop some independence so they don’t end up living with you for another 20 years.
The ‘Fire Cracker’ Teen
These kids are the angry ones. They seem to go off at anything, often unprovoked. They can’t take a joke and read offence into the most innocent actions. These teens can be noisy too, with lots of yelling and slammed doors.
Parents of these wonders need to have clear rules and firm consequences for any bad behaviour. You need to be firm about what you’ll tolerate and what you won’t. If this behaviour has had a sudden start and seems out of character, it’s worth checking that they’re not using drugs or other substances.
If you have a fire cracker teen but they seem to be getting worse, keep other people around. They rarely do it in public, so just keep inviting people over or heading out as much as you can.
The ‘Fusspot’ Teen
These ones are hard to please. They tend to be drama queens or kings too, always wanting other people to make things just right for them.
Don’t let them somehow trick you into being their slave. Otherwise your kitchen will turn into a 5-star restaurant. Or you’ll find yourself running all over town to get exactly what they want. Firm limits are a must with these darlings. Let them know how far they can push you and then leave them to sort out their own needs.
The ‘Lion Tamer’ Teen
Some teens are risk-takers. They’re always testing the boundaries and if they find a hole in the perimeter, they’ll make a run for it. These ones can be hard to trust too.
Remember the world needs adults with this mindset. They could be a future entrepreneur, because they’re not held back by a fear of the unknown.
Set firm limits for these kids too. Let the consequences of their risk-taking be their teacher. Don’t shield them or rescue them too much.
It can help to find safer ways to encourage their risk-taking. They might take up an sport with lots of critical judgement in it. Gymnastics, parkour or mountain biking could be right up their alley. Or let them take other risks, like with some shares or a micro-business.
The ‘Stuck-in-the-mud’ Teen
You’ll know one of these teens. They’re so headstrong. They develop obsessions, either good or bad, that can drive the rest of their family mad.
They often don’t cope with change; they like things to stay predictable and ordered. You’ll find these teens often fight new experiences or feel overwhelmed by them.
But on the plus side, they tend to be the ritual-keepers in a family. They make sure you do things the same for Christmas or when you’re on holidays. They can be great at persevering at a task too.
If you’ve got one of these, be gentle with them. They’re not as tough as they look. Warn them about changes and offer for them to get involved. Point out when you see them taking a risk and trying something new. They need plenty of encouragement.
Regardless of what time of teen you have all have good and bad qualities that make them who they are. Harness the good ones and train up the less desirable traits. Then you’ll have teenagers that are great to live with.
What do you think? Are there some other’s I’ve missed? I’d love you to add them in the comments below.
Article supplied with thanks to Tween2Teen. Author Rachel Doherty. Rachel lives in Brisbane, with her husband of 20 years and their three teenagers. She has received a number of qualifications in social work and teaching and built up a bank of experiences in working with young people and their families.