What You Need to Know About Teenagers


In the summer months, we will be focusing on two topics: Stay-At-Home Activities for Kids (See Stay-At-Home Activities for Kids, Part 1.) and teenagers. This is the second of seven posts on teenagers. (See How COVID-19 “Stay-At-Home” Time Can Improve Parenting Teens.)
The job of teenagers is to gradually separate from their families and grow into independent persons who are responsible for their own morals, needs, feelings, and behaviors.
This gradual growth is one step at a time and often confusing with a few steps forward and then a step or two backwards. Eventually, the forward movement takes over and the childish behaviors become fewer and farther between.

What you need to know about teens:
  • 13-year-olds can be independent but still want to be fed, cuddled and cared for like a young child.
  • 14-year-olds can be reasonable but sometimes be suddenly rebellious with angry tantrums.
  • 15-year-olds can be grown-up in their thinking but sometimes suddenly argue about every unimportant detail.
  • 16- to 19-year-olds can be grown up and responsible most of the time and still have sudden short periods of childish behavior.
  • Teenagers’ separation can be slow or sudden. They may do things that they know will push adults to force them out of the house.
What can adults do to help themselves and teenagers with this “job” of separation:
  • Be ready to have a new type of relationship with your teenagers once they separate, even if the separation is a difficult one.
  • Admire and enjoy your teenagers’ growing up, including their interest in more intimate relationships with peers, which when done responsibly, is a normal and necessary part of becoming an adult.
  • Find new people and activities to fill the gap left by the separation from your teengers. One good way to “let go” is to “find” yourself.
  • If there are certain teenage issues (school performance, drinking, driving, sex) that are hard for you to deal with, get help with those issues before they become out of control.
  •  Remember, it is never too late to us new ideas to improve your relationship with your teenagers.
Based on concepts in Self-Esteem: A Family Affair, Jean Illsley Clarke

 

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