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Have you ever wondered what happened to the days when teenagers respected their elder’s opinions, had values, helped around the house without expecting money? These days, most of them have become a teen alien!

When I was a young parent, teenagers had manners, they gave up their seats on buses to the elderly, abided by curfews bestowed on them, and obeyed the house rules without being asked.

That’s not to say teenagers these days don’t but there are a few that couldn’t give two hoots! As a parent and grandparent of teenagers, the change I see is, at times, mind-boggling!

What happened?

Most teenagers still respect their parents and grandparents’ beliefs albeit sometimes challenging them (usually in a nice way). Most teens know when not to cross the invisible line. That line is usually the one that means: ‘I can try it on with mum and dad, but heaven help you if you try it on with your grandparents!’.

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If you are a grandparent, have you noticed these days how your own children struggle to deal with their own children?

It can be a losing and depressing battle. One day these kids go off to school with a polite ‘goodbye’ and come home a ‘teen alien,’ a two-headed monster that shrieks and yells, slams doors and kicks anything in their path!

Send them to grandma’s – they’ll know what to do – is the usual solution when a teen alien metamorphoses.

What A Selfish Bunch Of Kids

Teen aliens and teenagers are the most selfish bunch of kids on the planet and they have learnt the art of manipulation from an early age.

Grandparents know only too well when they have been conned by a teen alien. The little darlings will cajole and sweet talk their way around you without lifting a finger to help you. They will come and sit next to you and put their arm around your shoulder and croon, ‘I love you grandma.” Yes, we fall for it because we can give them back to their mum and dad. It’s only if they live with you and you dare to ask them to clean their room or do a load of washing, that it turns into a raging battle.

Yet time and time again we see and hear on the news and current affairs programs that the world’s youth is out of control, have no manners, and are violent and so on. Well, the onus lies with us whether we like it or not.

You Are Responsible

The parent is responsible for their offspring regardless. No, even grandparents are not off the hook, you share that responsibility too because we as elders know some of the answers and need to encourage our own children to put them into action.

So how do we stop our loving grandchildren from turning into teen aliens?

With a lot of hard work and grit determination, that’s how.

Communicate!

Communication is the key. Even though they may seem to speak another language and they do amongst themselves, persist. There will be times when the little darlings ignore you. Just say what you have to say and ask if they would like to have the right of reply. If a shrug is their answer, so be it.

Don’t feel guilty when they have made the choice to remain silent. Silence from teen aliens can be like screaming because as every parent knows with children eventually the dam will burst and all in its path will be flooded. We are here to pick up the pieces and rebuild the bridges.

Remain Strong!

Yet if they rant and rave and tell you, ‘unfair, I hate you!’ let them go because the plus side is sanity will prevail and you have behaved the way you should have. Remain strong, determined loving and calm and let them know your decision is based on what you believe is best for them. Don’t fret over it.

That child has been reared with good morals and ideals and will eventually become a respected member of the community so let them throw their tantrum whilst reassuring them you love them. The most important job in the world is to protect them from themselves until they have the ability and skills to do it alone.

The Teen Alien May Leave The Building

Who knows one day when you least expect it, your fiery teen alien will go out of your front door slamming it and will hopefully return the teenager you once knew?

That teenager will still be selfish but will have learned a very important lesson about life and that lesson will be respect. Respect for the people who sat by their bed and wiped their brow when they were sick, who cuddled and reassured them when they were scared and who let them have ice cream when mum said no. Who kissed their sore knee when they fell over, who taught them how to fish or catch a ball and who taught them that family is their priority in life!

Do you have a teen alien in your home or family? Tell us how you deal with them in the comments below.

  • Our 12 year old grand daughter never stoped talking when she was with us and she turned 13 and hardly speaks at all.

    Reply

  • I know I was a nightmare teenager, my poor parents. Thankfully, karma didn’t come knocking when I had kids, they were pretty good

    Reply

  • After having three teenagers of my own and working with many others, I think it’s important to realise that teenagers are often finding it difficult adjusting to the new expectations we have of them compared to when they were little. They don’t get away with things they once did (or their little siblings may still) and they feel so much more pressure from friends and life in general. They have no comprehension about the stress and worry parents have to deal with once they get more independent which in turn results in parents getting frustrated. A lot of the time teenagers are so used to people being disappointed in their behaviour that they feel like nothing they do is ever going to be good enough and get disheartened. We need to understand that what is important to us may not even register on their radar. We need to talk to our teenagers and listen to them in return, without good calm communication we are all trying to navigate blind. Empathy, morals, respect, even how to love is not something we are born with, it is something we are taught. Be the good example in your teenagers life. Saying “Its ok for me to do it because I’m an adult” is never going to work with teenagers because in their minds they already know everything and think they are almost adults anyway. They are craving freedom but still need structure and a soft place to land when things don’t go according to their plan. As much as we would like them to learn from our mistakes they can’t. Finally there are teenagers out there that haven’t had a loving home life and it is sadly becoming more and more common as our own generation fails them. Have compassion for them because they are scarred, hurting and trying to cope with life the only way they know how.

    Reply

  • Thank you for sharing this great article.

    Reply

  • Not any more. They’ve grown up and are now realising what little pains they were. I remember my eldest was about 12 and wanted to go and watch a band perform with his mate. He was told no as was the other boy. Needless to say they both snuck out of home and we had to get the police to search for them. The police found them and brought them home with a stern warning to not waste their time again. The band were playing 400 kms away.


    • I know! It’s liked some times when they were growing up we looked at them and thought ‘I don’t even know who you are anymore!’ Love your memory.

    Reply

  • We talk. We teach. We pull him up when we’re not happy with his responses or behaviour. He’s a good kid though and we’re pretty lucky. He has many friends whose parents don’t discipline, or pull them up and let them get away with bad manners, bad behaviour, and disrespect. My son often feels hard done by but I remind him it’s because we care and it’s a reflection on our family and who we are.


    • I loved what you wrote! It is all so true. When the day is done we can only do the best we can. As a grandparent I watch young Mother’s struggle with Teen aliens knowing that the majority will come through the other side unscathed. Thank you for your comment.



      • After having three teenagers of my own and working with many others, I think it’s important to realise that teenagers are often finding it difficult adjusting to the new expectations we have of them compared to when they were little. They don’t get away with things they once did (or their little siblings may still) and they feel so much more pressure from friends and life in general. They have no comprehension about the stress and worry parents have to deal with once they get more independent which in turn results in parents getting frustrated. A lot of the time teenagers are so used to people being disappointed in their behaviour that they feel like nothing they do is ever going to be good enough and get disheartened. We need to understand that what is important to us may not even register on their radar. We need to talk to our teenagers and listen to them in return, without good calm communication we are all trying to navigate blind. Empathy, morals, respect, even how to love is not something we are born with, it is something we are taught. Be the good example in your teenagers life. Saying “Its ok for me to do it because I’m an adult” is never going to work with teenagers because in their minds they already know everything and think they are almost adults anyway. They are craving freedom but still need structure and a soft place to land when things don’t go according to their plan. As much as we would like them to learn from our mistakes they can’t. Finally there are teenagers out there that haven’t had a loving home life and it is sadly becoming more and more common as our own generation fails them. Have compassion for them because they are scarred, hurting and trying to cope with life the only way they know how.

    Reply

  • One thing you have to realise a bad behaving teenager doesn’t feel happy him/herself ! Be understanding, kind and supportive and things may change

    Reply

  • Iv watched A friends kids turn into teenagers and the attitudes are appalling and they are constantly in trouble with their schools and their parents, but compare them to another friends teenagers and hers are incredible and never in trouble. It can sometimes just come down to how you raise your kids too.
    When I was a teenager if I dare disrespected my mum it would be world war 3 and I’d loose everything (phone, games, friends ect) and I never would dare do the wrong thing or talk back


    • Such a different time when things were easier. I think you are right ,it all boils down to respect, and values. The minority of teenagers are good kids but some do change as adolescence approaches.

    Reply

  • I think this article is pretty awful. Teenagers are meant to challenge. They are becoming adults and discovering their own identity and power.. We ALL went through this. A teenager’s brain is going through the biggest developmental stage since being a toddler…..add hormones to the mix and of course they aren’t going to be compliant and respectful all of the time.
    “……………we see and hear on the news and current affairs programs that the world’s youth is out of control, have no manners, and are violent and so on.”
    I don’t think I have ever seen teenagers over represented in media as being ‘out of control’ What a load of rubbish.
    Yes they can be difficult and challenging at times, but they are also inspired, awakening, bright and loving. It is such an exciting time and as a parent, it is wonderful to watch them becoming their own true selves.


    • Yes I totally agree !



      • Sorry you feel that way. It is a tongue in cheek article.

    Reply

  • I have a 13 year old and 16 year old. Sometimes they do get grumpy and emotional but mostly they are still the beautiful people they always were. We all have good and bad days.

    Reply

  • I do think most kids go through some difficult stages when they’re teens – that said, I’m not looking forward to it!

    Reply

  • It\’s a hard one! We have three teens, a 2 yr old and a 2 day old. They do morph sadly. You think you have done everything right and still, the outside world has such influence over their behavior


    • I know its like nothing matters at that age except themselves and their friends. We live in hope though because they usually morph back into the loving children we once knew.

    Reply

  • Still a long way off the teen years but hopefully no Aliens!

    Reply

  • I’m in my 30s and I’ve noticed it! I put it down to 3 things.
    When growing up you…
    1. Got what you were given or went without. And getting presents only happened on your birthday and Christmas
    2. Got smacked for bad behaviour or manners
    3. Didn’t eat so much junk food! For me it was only allowed at birthday parties, and even then we had to limit what we had!

    It is our fault and the fault of our generation. Things are cheaper, we don’t want our kids to only get things on birthdays and Christmas, and it so much easier to get take away now. Not to mention how birthday parties have gotten so out of hand!

    Reply

  • I don’t have any teenagers yet, next year I will have one and I think we have the relationship that I would like to think can communicate and be honest with each other without all the drama. Fingers crossed I’m right.

    Reply

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