Is your child about to enter adolescence? Is the thought of your child becoming a teenager worrying to you? This worry may be unnecessary. As you have probably already experienced just some of the drama associated with bringing up children from a young age. Whether the pain of early morning feedings, random outbursts of temper or perhaps even mood swings of going back to school.
The teenage years are very much important years for growth. Whether this is emotional, intellectual and physical. And with this comes confusion and upheaval for not only teenagers, but their families as well. The typical stereotype of a teenager is highly negative. Not helped by such portrayals made in popular films such as ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large’. Nevertheless, it is important not to overlook some of the positive attributes teenagers might possess. Such as being energetic and thoughtful (at times!) So, although the transition from childhood can be a struggle, it is important to remain invested in your teenager to help them become the best adult version of themselves as possible.
What Exactly Is Adolescence?
So, when exactly is the start of this period we call adolescence? Well, every teenager is different. Some bloom early, others take a little longer while most just take their time and develop at their own pace. Despite the obvious signs of puberty, other things are probably going on in the background too.
Nevertheless, change in to adolescence is marked largely through changes in behaviour. And your teenager is likely to be less reliant on you, with a desire to become more independent. They are also likely to become more bothered about how they are perceived by others, with a desire to fit in better with their peer group. And work out their identity as a whole. Which inevitably may result in conflict…
The Key to Successful Parenting: A Lens of Understanding
As already mentioned, the stereotype of the rebellious, angry teenager is not helped by media portrayal. And in reality, nothing may be further from the truth. As likely, most teenagers simply desire greater independence and have to rely on parents less. They may express their non-conformist ideals from time to time. And as such, a lens of understanding from the parent is highly beneficial. After all, we have all been here right?
How Can I Help My Teen Navigate Their Adolescent Years? – The Most Important Considerations
Self-educate. There are many books and resources out there that provide a good overview of the issues teenagers may face and how parents can help. By preparing yourself early, you have time to deal with events as they happen. As well as being able to cope better when they do occur. Having a great work-life balance will help you to spend time on this.
Practice open communication. Although there are many topics considered cringe worthy that you simply don’t want to discuss with your teen, talking about this early on can have its benefits. Respond to all questions your teen throws at you but don’t bombard them with information. And remember that there are other professionals out there such as GPs who might be able to deal better with more in depth or confusing topics. Communication will also help them when they go out into the wider world.
Don’t protest too much. Teenagers have the ability to be wacky and shock even the most open minded of parents. However, once you realise that such behaviour isn’t dangerous, the sooner you realise that it is simply attention seeking. However, if your teen is involving themselves in harmful substances such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs, this is a different matter altogether and requires direct intervention. How can I help my teen navigate their adolescent Years? – The Other Considerations
Stay ‘in the know’. It is expected that to some extent, teenage years can be a period of experimentation and even perhaps indulgence in risky activities. Try not to treat subjects such as alcohol and smoking as taboos. As talking about these early on may avoid your teen becoming involved in the first place. Form connections with the parents of your teenagers friends. This forms a communication network for the benefit of all teenagers concerned. And offers parents some control into things such as the whereabouts of their children and what they are doing.
How Can I Help My Teen Navigate Their Adolescent Years? – The Other Important Considerations
Be on the lookout. As already mentioned, change during adolescent years is perfectly normal. However, large changes to your teens personality or behaviour can indicate something more serious. And perhaps even a need for professional intervention. Keep an eye out for things such as weight gain, change in friendships or run ins with the law. If instances of such occurrences last longer than one month, it’s time to consult the professionals.
Respect privacy. Some people believe that their children’s business is their business too. Which to a certain extent, can be considered true. However, successful transition to adulthood requires a degree of privacy. If you are worried about your teen, it may be worth becoming a bit more involved in the issue. But don’t overdo it. Above all, safety is key. So still keep an eye on where your teenager is heading and what they are doing, with a view to trusting your teen.
Control media consumption. Teenagers have access to a large bank of information with specific thanks to the availability of the internet on mobile devices. It is important to censor and control this to some extent. Specifically, by setting time restrictions on usage and making sure supervision is possible. Use of devices should not disrupt a teenager’s sleep routine either.
Set appropriate rules. Ensure that your teen still attends family gatherings. However, offer them choice as to how long they want to stay. Because your child is transitioning into adulthood, they won’t want to spend as much time with parents. So, try to respect this.