Why Do Teens Shut Themselves Away from Their Family and Friends?

Why do Teens Shut Themselves away from their Family and Friends?
By Ahmad Amirali

There are times when students find it difficult to express their stressed-out feelings to anyone. In this case, they simply isolate themselves from their families and friends to sort out available solutions for their problems.  Similar kind of behaviour I witnessed the day before yesterday, in one of my students when she appeared late in my session. She was quite all the time and hardly even participating in any activities. She is one of the active students and therefore her behaviour was quite suspicious to me. When class concluded she simply come to me and handed over her worksheet and the moment she starts bursting in tears, crying out loud. Some students who were there simply have no idea what had just happened or why it was happening. I asked other students to leave the classroom. I didn’t say any word, and after a while, when she realised about her situation, she stops crying. I offered her a glass of water, upon asking she reluctantly shared that her sister’s marriage and her midterm exams are falling on the same week and she did not do well in her previous year’s tests. So, her parents are quite pissed this time. But She also does not want to miss all the shenanigans and memorable events of her sister’s marriage. She is not performing wholeheartedly for her exams as well as not able to enjoy her sister’s wedding. I counsel her, sort out her timetable, and talk to her parents about it. However, I wondered why she decided to shut herself down when she starts encountering the issue in the first place? Is shutting herself down helped her to sort out the solutions? Or sharing her concerns basically makes a difference?

Parents across the world are handling their emotionally unavailable and rebellious teens by marginalising, disrespecting, disempowering and trying to control them from a place of fear. Resulting in ‘That’s It… I Quit!’.

When your teenage child doesn’t perform as expected, telling them that they need to do better will not going to help. Similarly, being a parent when arguing, fighting, pleading and intimidating will become the only tools left for you to handle your child’s academic issues, then the chances are good that your teen is rebelling against your control-through-fear style of parenting. However, unlike dissatisfied workers on the job, your teen can’t quit his or her “job” of being your child or a student. They can only leave the relationship. So, the best they can do is simply shut themselves down, and the self-destructive ways they choose to do this can be pretty upsetting to their loved ones.

Reasons for Teens Shutdown

I always stress upon one thing in my every article that there ‘There is always a motive behind everything your child’s think and do in their daily lives’ (Previous Article: Why does Child’s Mood Start Swing after ten years? Causes and Preventive Measures). However, the question is, are you aware of these motives or even try to find out the reasons when and why your child feels stressed or being pressured. Maybe the very first reason you will find out is ‘You’. Following some of the reasons, when teens shutdown themselves:

  1. When they feel that they are being pressured by their friends/family members.
  2. When they established the fact in their minds that they will going to misunderstood no matter what they will do or say.
  3. Why they tired of being micromanaged by their parents/teachers/loved ones/friends/
  4. When some many times, they let down by their parents, especially when promises are made and not kept.
  5. When parents keep blaming their teens for their poor financial, social, economic or moral instabilities.

Some Pieces of Advice for Parents

  • First of all, stay interested in them even when they give you the silent treatment.
  • If you witnessed or observed such behaviour in your child, try to portray that you know nothing. First, gain as much info about their situation as you can without bombarding them with your list of questions.
  • Talk to their friends if they are available to talk. If they start giving you cold one-word answers, simply back off. It means they probably feel interrogated. It just means you have to take it slower.
  • If you promised your child about something and somehow you can’t keep that promise, simply apologise for it so that your teen child at least has something to reason his/her self-respect.
  • Let them make some mistakes without criticising. Give them room to breathe. For every criticism, give them several things about them that make you proud.
  • More than anything else, show your teenager as much empathy as you can regarding the pressure, they are teenagers. Do your best to understand it.
  • If they are failing in school, use phrases such as “How can I help you?” or “What can we do about this?” so they know you are there for support.

As for teens, remember loneliness make you more vulnerable to your problems because the chaotic mind will not provide you any peaceful advice. Your mind itself need some support during the time of stress. I always use one phrase ‘Sharing is caring’ its an old expression but this phrase sometimes works like a charm. Share your problems, queries or concerns to the one whom you put your 100 per cent trust. Maybe you will not get any solution in one go, but at least you will feel relaxed that now there are two persons in the whole world who knows that I am stressed.

Good Luck and Keep safe and healthy 😊

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