Adolescence or teenage is a time of all round changes. It initiates at 11yrs and ends at 19 yrs. There are changes as to how teenagers think, feel and communicate with others and also how their bodies grow. Many physical, psychological and emotional changes occur in adolescents during this age. Most girls will be physically mature by now and most will have completed puberty during this time. However boys shall grow in height, have pimples and see hair growth. They might have concerns about their body size, physical appearance, shape or weight. Eating disorders can be commonly observed, especially among girls.
During this time, they are developing their unique personalities and opinions. Relationships with friends will remain important, yet they will have other interests also, as they develop a clear sense of “WHO THEY ARE.”
This is also an important time to prepare for more independence and responsibilities. Many teenagers start contemplating about their careers or even start working and many prepare to leave their homes for higher studies.
There are four basic areas of teenage development which are as follows:
1. Physical Development
Gain Weight and Height (boys), more muscular, change in voice
Girls are near their adult height and become more feminine.
Increase hair growth on arms and legs.
2. Emotional/Social Change
Emotions controlled by hormones.
Mood swings, sulking, craving for privacy, short temper all controlled by hormones.
Have more interest in opposite sex.
Go through conflicts with parents.
Show more independence from parents.
Have a deeper capacity of caring, sharing and for developing more intimate relationships.
Spend less time with parents and more time with friends.
Feel a lot of sadness or depression which can lead to poor grades at school, alcohol, drugs, unsafe sex and other problems.
Worried about self- image as to know, “WHO AM I.” or “WHERE I FIT IN.”
Very concerned about self- esteem.
3. Cognitive Development
Learn rationally, able to think reasonably and understand abstract ideas.
Show more concern about future school and work plans.
Be better able to give reasons for their own choices, including about what is right and right and what is wrong.
Compares themselves with peers.
They feel that they have reached the stage of full maturity and expect others (parents) to treat them as “FULLY GROWN.”
Want to experience adventure.
Begins to understand people better.
They strongly feel that their own ideas are the truest.
4. Sensory and Motor Growth
Boys continue to get stronger and more agile even after puberty.
Girls tend to level out.
Getting plenty of exercise helps improve strength and coordination in boys and girls.
Let us throw some light on the ideology or thought patterns of teenagers:
The thought patterns of adolescents is highly controlled by hormones. Listed below are the kind of thoughts they generally have: -
1. Think more abstractly.
2. Highly focused on friends.
3. Seeking independence, hence, always in conflict with parents.
4. Dramatic thinking or exaggerated emotions.
5. Negative thinking pattern, use terms like, “Never “and “Always.”
6. Negative self-labelling.
7. Often question more extensively and also analyze more extensively.
8. They debate and develop intolerance for opposing views.
9. Have “Should” thinking.
How can parents help their teenagers during this time?
Teenage is a stressful time not only for teenagers but for parents too. Parents too get overwhelmed by the sudden changes in the behaviors of their teenage kids. The thought of them transitioning into adulthood. The fear of letting their kids go into the world that appears so scary and full of threats. The constant pressure to safeguard ones child from the ills around while preparing them for their future, is equally a humongous load on the parents. Whose only desire is the well-being and happiness of their child. However, it is important to understand that teenagers need their parents more than they might admit. But, the question is, what can be done to make this time preferable for both? No! there is nothing to worry at all, parents, with little bit of patience and effective parenting skills, one can definitely help their teenagers to deal with the challenges in a better way.
Focus on the following exclusive tips: -
Keeping the communication line open: Communication is the best way to understand the fears, insecurities and doubts of your child. It will also help the child to understand your point of view too.
Being an active listener: Active listening is very important. Put your concentration on what your teenager is saying, don’t just listen for the sake of it. When you do this, your child gets a feeling of being heard and cared for.
Helping your child to get organized: Take care of the distractions in his surroundings. Distractions create stress and anxiety, so help your child to handle them effectively.
Having Discussions: Having healthy discussions on the sensitive topics will help your child to clear his doubts and to understand the issues related to the topic in a better way. The topics can be like, attraction for the opposite gender, sex, success & failure, life in general, substance use and abuse etc.
Be assertive: Always be assertive when you are trying to enforce something but make sure, you have to be assertive, not angry.
Show respect: Respect your child’s privacy. Do not be a hovering parent.
Boosting: Motivate, encourage and appreciate your teenager as much as possible. This will boost up their self-confidence and self-esteem. Over all, it will help improve their self-image.
Set boundaries: This is very important to do. Teaching them limits and boundaries will save them from any harmful situations.
Unconditional love and support: This is again very important. No matter what may happen, always give unconditional love and support to your child. Let your child realize that you are always there for him/her in every situation. This will give him a sense of belonging and your child will never hide anything from you.
Quality time: Spend some quality, family time together to create beautiful memories and to cherish them lifelong. It can be, watching a movie together, going on a vacation or simply having dinner together, but make time for it.
Be a role model: We do not realize this but kids learn from us. They do follow our footsteps. Therefore, if you wish to inculcate any habit in your child, first do it yourself.
Morals and Values: Give knowledge about morals and values to your teenagers. Help them to be good human beings. This will help them in shaping up their whole personality.
Inculcating Ownership and Responsibility of actions: Introduce ways and methods to allow the teenager to learn to own and take responsibilities of their actions.
Teenage/adolescence can be a very turbulent time where children experience stress and pressure from all sides. There is academic pressure, parental pressure, peer pressure, societal pressure but above all SELF-PRESSURE. They fight for their own identity, for their own existence but, with the help, proper guidance and unconditional love and support of the parents, this challenging time can be very well managed by both. Don’t forget, it’s also the time for new experiences, enjoyment and much more.
Parents and Adolescents should together create this period of their lives one of the best by developing and focusing on mutual love, happy transitions, and hope of a bright future.
Note: Keep reading. Coming up next will be our blogs on teenage insecurities which parents need to know and understand and are an integral part of teenage.
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