The teenage years can be an exciting yet difficult time not just for teenagers themselves, but also for their parents. Adolescence is a period of great physical, mental, and social changes, and having to deal with these developments on top of one’s growing list of personal, co-curricular, and academic responsibilities can be overwhelming for some teens. At the same time, many parents also worry that they are not able to keep up with the changes that their teenage kids are going through, thus preventing them from offering their growing children the support and guidance they need during these crucial years.
If you have a teenager or a preteen, it’s best to approach the coming years by offering a lot of support and encouragement instead of letting fear and anxiety get the best of you. Here are some of the tips that can guide you in giving your teenager a better chance of developing into a productive and well-adjusted individual.
Know That You Are Not Alone in Dealing with Your Child’s Teenage Years
As a parent, you have the primary responsibility for ensuring your child’s health and well-being. This, however, doesn’t mean that you’re all alone in helping your child face the adolescent phase. You can count on your relatives as well as the teaching and staff members of your child’s school to provide your teenager with the support they need during this critical period in their development. The good news is that whether your child studies in a local school or an international high school in Singapore, educators in the country are empowered by the government to extend support to students in need.
Even before your child becomes a teenager, it’s a good idea to foster a good relationship with your family members and the school your child goes to. This way, all of you can stay on the same page while your teenager is going through rapid physical, emotional, and mental developments. Make it a habit to talk with your teenager’s teachers so that you’re always up to date with your child’s activities, interests, and challenges. This will give you a better chance of being present whenever your child needs you, and it will also help you give your child space in case they need to process things on their own for the time being.
Equip Your Teenager with Skills and Habits That Will Help Them Thrive on Their Own
More likely than not, your teenager will want to explore a lot of different things to get to know themselves better. Support this endeavour and point them to activities and events that will benefit them in the long run, such as getting a part-time job, joining a youth society, or picking up a new sport or musical instrument. Finding these new activities now will provide them with new experiences and help them widen their perspective a bit more. Having something productive to do will also give them a useful outlet for processing their energy and thoughts, all while they’re gaining a new skill or keeping themselves away from troubling habits like smoking or becoming too engaged in social media.
Be Patient When Dealing with Teenage Mood Swings and Turbulent Emotions
Puberty comes with a lot of physical changes, and this can include hormonal changes that may affect your teenager’s mood. In addition to bodily changes, your child may also become more sensitive to the stresses that come with their new responsibilities and the expectations of the people around them. It’s not unheard of for preteens or teenagers to be irritable, difficult, or unreasonable during this period.
When faced with your teenager’s turbulent emotions, temper your anger and avoid lashing out on your own. Give your teenager the time and space to deal with their emotions, and once they’ve calmed down, you can start discussing the issue more productively. Resist the urge to argue with them. Instead, listen and make an effort to understand where their feelings are coming from, and when they’re more receptive, explain your stand carefully and try to keep things in perspective. If your teen is not ready to talk, give them space, but make sure they understand that you’re ready and willing to listen if they feel like sharing what’s on their mind.
If you think that your teen is going through a difficult time mentally or emotionally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from professionals, and reassure your teen that you’re there to support them through this ordeal.
Get to Know Their Social Circles and Give Your Teen Time to Socialize
Your teenager will likely place more value on the opinion of their friends over yours, and this can be troubling for some parents. Even if you don’t like the kind of company they keep, refrain from making comments about your teen’s friends. Focus your discussion on the activities that your child does with their group, and listen instead of offering your judgment every time your child shares a new milestone with you. If they’re engaging in harmful activities, talk about the dangers presented by their actions and the possible consequences instead of blaming their friends. It’s also an option to invite your child’s friends over to your home and get to know them better.
Remember that as your teenager grows, your relationship also changes and you’re also experiencing growth as a parent. As early as now, foster a healthy curiosity about the person that your child is slowly turning into. This way, your child will be encouraged to be more open with you as they go through their teenage years.
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