“Another possible source of guidance for teenagers is television, but television’s message has always been that the need for truth, wisdom and world peace pales by comparison with the need for a toothpaste that offers whiter teeth *and* fresher breath.”– Dave Berry
The teenage years can be difficult, both for teens and for parents. For teens, these years are marked by:
a struggle to establish identity and independence
feelings of awkwardness about self/body
moodiness, decreased affection toward parents, and occasional rudeness
better verbal expression, but with the tendency to react childishly when stressed
increased interest in sex
Those with teenagers are probably thinking, “Yeah, yeah, tell me something I don’t know.” Well, here’s one you may not be aware of:
What’s your teen doing when he or she isn’t with you?
From ages 13 to 15, teens are able to catch rides with older siblings or family friends, and spend increasing amounts of time away from parents. From 16 to 18, they generally have their own transportation, are involved in self-chosen extracurricular activities, and can “do their own thing.”
Teenagers are still kids.
They may be almost adults, but they’re not there, yet. They need structure, guidance, and emotional support, even if they do their best to avoid it. If you don’t provide it, someone else will.
Talk to your teens about their bodies, sex, and boundaries.
Sound familiar? The age-sensitive talks you had with your precious toddler, your fearless Kindergartener, and your nonstop preteen paved the way for detailed discussions with your sometimes uncommunicative, often awkward, potentially sullen, but still precious teenager.
The more time you spend with them – enjoying family activities, taking interest in their interests, helping them develop their own thoughts and opinions, and creating well-structured independence – the more protected and prepared they are as they complete the transition from child to adult.
Remember, no matter how old they are, they still need you.