Suffice it to say that the teen years will undoubtedly bring about some of the most challenging times in parenthood.
For the most part, hormones play a big part in contributing to difficulties with teens. Parents don’t understand the kids and the kids don’t understand the parents. Some teens may even feel angry, alone and confused, while trying to face difficult issues regarding their individuality amid peers, to include sexual behaviors, or learning to combat peer pressure, whilst making difficult decisions concerning whether to drink or indulge in drugs.
As parents we may become frustrated with our teens when they refuse to respond to our authority. It may seem that parenting methods that worked when our children where young, simply do not work and have little to no effect on our maturing young adults. Parents may also feel despair as they work to understand or rebuke choices their teen makes.
The following are areas that may contribute to parent / teen conflict:
- suggested teen curfews
- your teen’s choice of friends
- spending more time with the family instead of peers
- academic issues
- driving privileges
- dating and sexuality
- clothing choice or hair and makeup
- self destructive behaviors such as smoking, drinking and using drugs
While these years can be challenging at best. Families can succeed at helping their children through these years and also attain their developmental goals, including reducing a teen’s dependence on their parents, while gradually growing into responsible and independent young adults.
Through these times, there are obvious warning signs to look out for which parents need to be in tune with to insure that they seek outside help in time. Be sure to look out for teen aggression or violence, drug or alcohol abuse, promiscuity, frequent school issues, and any brushes with the law or runaway tendencies. Remember, as a parent it is highly inadvisable to resort to hitting your teen or other violent behavior to maintain order. This will only be counter productive and will not yield any sort of positive result for you or your teen.
Also know that during your teen’s development, it can be difficult to get them to open up and communicate with you. Regardless of difficulty, make every effort to talk to your teen often and let them know you are always there for them if they ever want to talk.
Always be approachable, a welcome retreat for your developing teen. This is often one of the best ways to help protect your teen from danger. Conversely, resorting to spying on your teen or snooping in their room is not the way to get information about your teen, it will only upset matters and will assure that your teen will not open up to you about his or her life out of your sight, because you know you can not watch them at every turn. But frequent talks with your child coupled with an open relationship will help them to recall your words, even when faced with difficult decisions in your absence.
Just food for thought. As usual I would love to know your thoughts…
D. Linn Whorley