Mental Flexibility of Teens: The Secret to Grow and Success
Transitions in life - an eternal truth. For a human being, it is natural to go through various phases and changes in every possible aspect, physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual. The most significant transitions we tend to face are during the adolescent years. It is a fun roller coaster ride in our physical, emotional, social, and psychological maturity. Until childhood, our only mirror is our parents; what parents think about their children, how much parents appreciate or scold the child, all is internalised by the child, and his image of self is formed based on their parent's opinion. Hence it is essential to highlight that parenting plays an indispensable role. During the adolescent phase, the teen gains some emotional and social maturity. And starts to form their relationships apart from his parents and family.
As we all experience in our daily lives, with change, we grow, and also, the first step towards growth and change is stepping out of our comfort zones. So once teens grow in various aspects, they face several obstacles like body image issues, peer pressure, academic pressure, parental pressure, relationship issues, and many more. The ongoing pandemic has also affected the well-being of teens. The confinement within four walls and increased dependency on technology has also affected their overall growth and development.
A 2016 research on social media use and parenting styles on teenagers' academic motivation and academic achievement found that intrinsic academic motivation was influenced by authoritative and permissive parenting styles and the duration of social media use. In contrast, authoritarian and authoritative parenting styles influence extrinsic academic motivation and periods of social media use among teens.
So the influence of family, friends, and parents shapes the teen's well-being in several ways. Children also face bullying, self-esteem issues, and at times suicidal ideations. Factors contributing to the decision of adolescents to commit suicide are having a primary mood disorder or substance use. The family has both positive and negative influences on suicide. At times it serves as a protective factor by providing vital support to the person but, on the contrary, complicates the situation of the person in grief by attaching taboo and stigma to mental health care. Religion is integral to the Indian culture so much that individuals often use herbal remedies, seek help from religious leaders, and attend religious establishments before obtaining a mental health evaluation in those who are subsequently deemed mentally ill. Even though suicides are underreported and misdiagnosed in India, it is known that the highest rates are among those <30 years old.
For a teen to thrive and conquer all the hurdles in the journey of life, the skill of mental flexibility enriches the person's ability to practically solve any obstacle and adapt to the changes with ease. Mental flexibility is the ability to shift a course of thought or action according to the changing demands of a situation.
Ways in which parents deal with their children can significantly enrich mental flexibility among teens.
Parents at times tend to over-protect their kids and don't let the child explore, fail and yet again get up and learn certain things in life, so it is important to give freedom to children, allow them to commit some minor mistakes, we tend to learn better from our mistakes. Liberty and independence give courage to a person. You don't need to answer every question asked by the kid, set them free, facilitate them so that they can find the answer to their curiosities, and this will lead to mental flexibility.
Moreover, it is vital to realise that happiness is not permanently attached to big worldly things; a blooming flower can also be a source of joy. Never underestimate your daily accomplishments; it matters a lot. Conforming to social stereotypes limits our mental flexibility.
Also, parents sometimes misunderstand the concept of independence and associate it with isolation, so parents need to differentiate between them. Facilitating your child's independence doesn't mean isolation. Independence leads to empowerment, empowerment of mind and personality.