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Ph: 1800 832 588
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What do you think when you hear the word “teenager”? Do you automatically picture a sullen, withdrawn, child who only grunts at you? Truth is, many parents dread the teenage years and expect their loveable son or daughter to disappear, but this is not a given. Teenagers like adults are all unique and not every child turns into a sullen and silent being during those years. This is a period of much hormonal change, and a time when a child is beginning to assert his or her independence from their parents in order to reach adulthood. However, there are still many who do this whilst maintaining a good relationship with their parents.
So what can you do to prepare for the teenage years?
1. To begin with don’t expect your child to fulfil the stereotype of a teenager; recognise that your child is an individual and get to know your child’s personality, their interests, likes and how to connect with your child accordingly.
2. Pick your battles. Teenagers are forming their own identities and won’t always conform to an adult’s expectations of how they should dress, what they should do etc. Be clear about your values and the values of your family and stand your ground on what really matters, but let go of the things that don’t matter as much.
3. Don’t assume that moodiness and withdrawal in your child is just teenage angst. If your child changes dramatically and / or withdraws not only from parents but also from friends and activities it is best to seek help by consulting your GP.
4. Finally, don’t get yourself tied up in knots trying to parent you teenager in the “best way”. Sometimes it is best to simply trust your instincts! You know your child and your family, you know what matters most to you and what you want to instil in your children so sometimes it is best to “go with your gut!”