Teen Development – Physical, Social and Emotional

Have you ever wondered what is wrong with your teen? As they develop, they may seem to become more and more difficult as each day goes by.

This, I repeat THIS is NORMAL. I have experienced teen attitudes first hand.

The truth is, the same as when they were little, they are still continuing to develop. Except the changes may seem more like outright personal attacks.  As your teen develops, they are likely to become more confused at the process than you – the parent.

Just know that you can help your son or daughter during this time by making an effort to understand them better and allowing them thier space and time to work out their emotions. You can also help them by making sure they know you are there for them if need be…to answer any questions they may have.

I’ve provided a list of common preteen behaviors below – which are typical during their development:

  • Preteens and teens begin to spend more time with peers and less time with family.
  • Preteens and teens begin to form their identity by exploring different clothes, hairstyles, friends, music, and hobbies.
  • Moodiness is common as youth struggle to search for an identity.
  • Preteens and teens will push the envelope to display their independence.
  • Preteens and teens have mixed feelings about “breaking away” from parents. One day your son or daughter may want nothing to do with you, the next he or she is constantly at your side.
  • Troubled youths may also act out (ie: get into physical fights, use alcohol or other drugs, even skip school) in order to suppress or even express emotional pain.

**Here is how you can help:

–      Preteens and teens can sometimes become embarrassed by their changing bodies and may be concerned that they are not developing at the same rate as their friends. Try to reassure your child that everyone grows and develop at their own pace and that the changes are normal.

–       Don’t tease your child about their changes.

–       Talk to them about the importance of personal hygiene. Bodily changes call for regular bathing and deodorant. The must absolutely brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.

–       Set reasonable and appropriate limits. Preteens and teens want guidance.

–       When differences arise, listen to your child and try to understand thier point of view.

–       Remember, choose your battles! Hold your ground on important issues like grades and drugs, and let go of smaller issues    such as hairstyles and clothes. If it won’t matter a year from now, is it worth arguing over?

–       Let your preteen or teen make more decisions as he or she proves the ability to use good judgment.

–       If your child is acting out, talk with him or her to get to the root of the problem.

–       Get counseling for your child or the whole family if you believe it could help.

–       Talk with other parents about your concerns, their parenting experiences, setting limits, etc.

Just Food for Thought – as usual I would love to know your thoughts!

D. Linn Whorley

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