Three Helpful Tips for Handling the Adolescent Transition
Handling the Adolescent Transition
Adolescence is a period of change every child, age 13 through 19, experiences at some point. Handling the adolescent transition is difficult for both parents and child. Teens must deal with issues of internal changes such as biological and physical changes, emotional changes, and issues with self-esteem, all while dealing with external pressures such as peer pressure and dating. Likewise, parents must deal with changes in their child without seeming overbearing or rigid.
Luckily, there are resources for parents on how to handle adolescence and messages to give your child to let them know you are there for them. Here are three helpful tips for handling the adolescent transition.
Sometimes, parents and children fail to realize the normalcy of changes during adolescence. The best way to adapt to the changes your child is experiencing is to inform them that change is normal, and everyone goes through these periods of discomfort. Make your child aware of the physical, biological, and hormonal changes that are to come. As a parent, you serve as an ally because you have been through these changes already. Transfer your knowledge to inform your child this period of discomfort happens to everyone; share your experiences of puberty to let them know how you dealt with it. Parents serve as an ally who can understand and validate their child’s feelings. Educating your child will remove some of the insecurity and the taboo label adolescence sometimes conveys.
Establish Open Communication
The role of parents changes as your child gets older. In most cases, a parent goes from being idolized, to the child’s enemy as they make the transition from childhood to adolescence. As stated in Psychology Today, “As adolescence proceeds, parental reputation can undergo a predictable variety of changes.” It is natural for your child to pull away from you; it is part of the self-discovery process and a step in forming their own identity. However, it is important to establish open lines of communication. Create a level of comfort so your child asks questions about what is happening to them, or even have everyday conversation with them to show you are interested in their life. Of course, it is normal for children to seek comfort from their peers because during this time your child wants approval and support from those closest to them. Find a common topic of interest to open up communication. Establish a rapport of trust, respect, honesty, and acceptance with your child.
Dealing with Defiant Behavior
It is common for teens to rebel and engage in risky behavior during adolescence. Although it may seem like your child is directly defying you by engaging in activities that involve drugs, sex, or alcohol, this behavior may not directly relate to your role as a parent. Monitor your child’s behavior to look for dramatic routine changes. Encourage your child to be honest, and do not accuse your child of any behavior if you sense something is wrong.
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It is the desire of Family First Therapy to provide the tools needed for parents and adolescents during Handling the Adolescent Transition. We are here to help figure out what works best for your family.