Parenting a Teenager
The teen years are some of the most thrilling and complex for both the adolescent and the parent. Exciting experiences and transitions coupled with emotions and hormones can make those six to eight years tricky to navigate. Adolescence marks uncharted waters for the teen and possibly a distant memory to the parent. But for all the good, the bad, and the ugly, the teen years are a rite of passage to adulthood. To better understand how to parent a teen, it’s essential to consider all that’s happening within one.
The development of teens
During the adolescent years, your teen will grow physically, emotionally, intellectually, and morally. Teens begin to form and fashion the person they will become in adulthood. During this process, a power struggle often ensues. Teenagers will anticipate and earn greater independence from parents and other adults. As a result, you will see your child begin to separate a bit. Often, teens will look to their peers as guides and value their opinions over those of adults, specifically their parents. In an attempt to discover their identity and who they’re becoming, many teens may experiment with how they look and act around others. Fitting in is often the goal during these years, and parents may experience a lot of stress and worry when they watch their child seemingly become someone else overnight.
Signs of a struggling teen
Disagreements are common between teen children and parents. As your teen pursues independence, he or she is trying to form a code of right and wrong. This code may or may not be similar to your own values. While this may seem like an act of rebellion, your child is most likely behaving like the average adolescent. There are, however, warning signs that can indicate your teen might be struggling:
Strategies for parenting a teenager
While we’ve heard the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” it can be hard to allow others to fill a spot we’ve always maintained. Try to think of the teen years as a training ground for your child’s growth and responsibility. Encourage your child to find a trusted mentor, responsible adult, or relative they can turn to for advice. Your child may not want to discuss everything with you, and it’s not something to be taken personally. If anything, it demonstrates your child is progressing at a natural pace of independence. Remember, while your child is moving towards adulthood, they will always still be your child, even if they sprout to 6’2”. Keeping a healthy perspective on the potentially turbulent teen years lays the foundation for a lifetime of friendship with your son or daughter.