How did you feel in your adolescent years? For some this path is fairly smooth, but for others the road is bumpy and full of potholes. This is a period of intense feelings, mood swings and unexpressed fears. It is also a period of experimentation. I remember coming home from school and crying for no reason at all.
How did it feel when your body started changing; hair growing in different places, voice breaking, menstruation, breast enlargement, hormones and pimples? It is at this time that parenting skills are tested to the limit!
Answer your teenager’s questions as honestly as you can. Teens do not believe in fairy tales. Books are available and may be helpful but nothing can beat open communication.
Peer pressure and stress play very important roles in the lives of teens and should never be underestimated. Behind that outward bravado, knowledge and confidence, there is still an uncertain, scared and impressionable young person trying to establish an identity in this world of ours.
Give your teens space but set limits. Young people need to know that freedom and trust comes with responsibility. This is a period of dreams, fantasy, adventure, enthusiasm and hopes. We all grow and learn in this period. Those dreams of yesteryear, which we had in our teen years, are relived as we see our children reach the same age. Don’t pressure your teen to achieve your dreams. Rather allow him or her to establish their own and find their own motivation.
Enjoy your teenager. Give support, understanding, guidance, advice (if advice is requested) and give unconditional love. Treat your teen with respect and above all remember that you do not own your child. He or she is a separate person, able to make decisions and choices.
Keep those communication lines open and your will receive the loyalty and the respect as you, as a parent, value so much.