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What It Takes to Raise a Teenager

Monday, November 7, 2016 15:43
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Raising a Teenager? Wish There was an App for That?

The teenage years can be hard on everyone. The young person is going through so many changes to their body and their psyche; they’re discovering who they are and what they aspire to in life. Hormones are coursing through their veins, bringing on mood swings, irritability and confusion. They question and challenge almost everything — most especially authority; they’re resistant at best, defiant at worst, and their favorite mannerism, quite often, is eye-rolling.

For parents, the teen years bring a myriad of challenges. Developmentally, teens immerse themselves in the stage of separation and individuation. They learn to become independent young adults with their own hopes, dreams, thoughts, feelings and especially, their own identity.

They’re driven to engage in behaviors that are off-putting to their parents, if not downright repellent, as an unconscious mechanism to push away the people who might otherwise hold them back from evolving into their true selves.

 
No Need to Let Confusion Rule or Be Fearful

Good parents want the best for their teens and want to bring out the best in them. But, in this day and age, with so many conflicting opinions going around about how to nurture our older children, parents are often left as confused as their teens over how best to love, value and protect these young people.

Often, parents go to one extreme — lenience and over-indulgence; spoiling and enabling, or to the other — bubble-wrapping their kids; hovering over them incessantly, not letting them do anything on their own for fear that their teenager will get hurt or make a mistake.

Like in any relationship, balance is key. Teens, like all kids, need to feel cherished and safe. But more than any other kids, it’s essential that they feel acknowledged, respected, understood and supported in their autonomy.

 
The parents’ role is to make sure that the consequences to their teen aren’t so severe that there’s no coming back.

Letting teens do whatever they want without guidance or limits is a sure recipe for disaster, especially when we’re dealing with youth whose surging hormones are upping their quotient of impulsiveness and risk-taking behavior.

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