16-Year-Olds: Who They Are and How to Talk to Them


In the summer months, we will be focusing on two topics:
  1.  Stay-At-Home Activities for Kids:
Stay-At-Home Activities for Kids, Part 1
Stay-At-Home Activities for Kids, Part 2
Stay-At-Home Activities for Kids, Part 3
Stay-At-Home Activities for Kids, Part 4
    2.  Teenagers: (This is the sixth of seven posts on teenagers; prior posts are below.)
How COVID-19 “Stay-At-Home” Time Can Improve Parenting Teens
What You Need to Know About Teenagers
13-Year-Olds: Who They Are and How to Talk to Them
14-Year-Olds: Who They Are and How to Talk to Them
15-Year-Olds: Who They Are and How to Talk to Them

What 16-year-olds can be like when struggling to grow-up:

  • Have to be the most powerful person around
  • Cars (and even guns) equal power
  • Only think of themselves in terms of what they can or can’t do (football player, dancer, poor student, cook, etc.); don’t think of themselves as just good people
  • Are afraid of everything
  • Always have to win
  • Are too outlandish in their dress or behavior
  • Have to be better than others
  • Want or expect problems to be solved without any effort on their part

How to talk to 16-year-olds – let them know:

  • They can figure out what is special about themselves.
  • They can respect what is special about other people, even if they are different from them.
  • They can ask for help.
  • They can try different ways of getting along with other people.
  • They can learn from how people react to them.
  • It’s OK for them to have many feelings, some good and some not so good.
  • What is pretend is fun but is really still pretend.
  • What is real is really real.
Remember, giving your child the above messages should only be done when you really mean them. If the time or situation is not right, wait until they are. If you find it hard to give these messages most of the time, figure out how you can help yourself believe the messages and give them freely (get some help, rest, information, therapy, etc.)
Based on concepts in Growing Up Again, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson