Adolescence - How to Respond Part II
Adolescence can be a tough time for teens and parents. As a parent you may wonder, “How will I ever get through this?" Not to worry, you can and will survive adolescence. In fact it is possible to thrive during your child’s passage through adolescence.
Remember, adolescence is time of identity development revolving around the question of “Who am I?” Adolescents are striving to learn what it means to be independent and are in the process of forming their identity. They are exploring their views on culture, politics, religion, relationships and sex. They are learning how to be independent from their family while also being a part of the family. As a parent you can help a teen through adolescence by:
- Emphasizing positive communication
- Effectively use direct-contact time. Avoid having every interaction being one that is negative or one in which you are requesting that your teen "do something" (e.g., clean their room, do their homework).
- Be willing to share stories about your day.
- Be willing to listen to their stories about their day.
- Avoiding unnecessary comments held over from childhood
- Accepting the reality that your teen’s friends are often going to win out over you
- Teens are looking for acceptance from their peers, which means that their friend’s words are often gold.
- Pick and choose which peers you rally against – the harder you push the more your teen will want to listen to this friend.
- Resisting the urge to “fix” your teen’s problems
- Monitor, guide, support at a distance
- Establish appropriate and consistent boundaries and consequences
- Be clear about your own needs and preferences
- Find your own outlets – your teen is not an extension of you; they are learning what it means to be independent and separate from you.
Adolescence marks a change for a child from kid to teen. It also marks a change in how a parent will interact with their child. This parental change can be tricky and leave one feeling unsure and even frustrated. However it also has the potential for excitement and happiness, watching your teen develop a healthy identity and healthy level of independence. At Equilibria Psychological and Consultation Services, we have experienced therapists that work with teens and their families. Our staff can help you navigate the transition through adolescence in order to develop stronger family bonds. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 267-861-3685 for more information about how we can help.