If your struggling teen is having a hard time because of the numerous changes they are going through, there are many positive ways that parents can respond. Keep in mind that teens are going through physical, emotional, social, and cognitive changes at this stage in life. Their physical changes will include those that accompany puberty. For instance, teens might have concerns about their body size, shape, and weight. There might be concerns related to eating disorders or restricted eating habits, especially among girls. Boys may still be experiencing the changes of puberty while most girls will be done with puberty by the age of 15.
Signs of Emotional and Social Change
Along with physical growth, there are emotional and social changes teens might experience, such as:
- increased interest in the opposite sex
- increased independence from parents
- greater abilities for experiencing the many facets of relationships
- increased emphasis and value placed on friends over family relationships
- swings in mood which can include sadness, depression, or anxiety
Signs of Cognitive Change
Along with these changes, teens are going through the cognitive changes such as:
- more responsibilities at school
- possible responsibilities that come with employment if they are working
- greater understanding of the difference between right and wrong
- more exploration of the future and thoughts about college, moving out, and career choices
Ways to Support Your Teens Transformation
To help a struggling teen with the transformations they go through during adolescence, it’s important that parents provide their loving support. Here are tips that can encourage positive parenting and a strong relationship with your teen:
- Compliment your teen and celebrate their strengths
- Encourage your teen to volunteer and contribute their strengths and passion to the community
- Let your teen know that you are available to talk with them about their concerns and worries.
- Show interest in your teen’s life, including their academic progress, extracurricular activities, and talents.
- Show affection to your teen whenever possible
- Spend time together and do things that your teen enjoys
- Respect your teen’s opinion.
- Listen to your teen to help give them a voice and help them feel heard and understood.
- Encourage problem solving skills in your teen by teaching them certain skills but also by letting them figure things out on their own.
- Talk to your teen about financial responsibility, especially if they are currently working. Help them create a budget and prepare for the future.
- Respect your teen’s need for privacy.
- Encourage your teen to eat healthy and balanced meals.
- Encourage your teen to eat together with the family. Although they will want to distance themselves from family events at times and value their friends over family, make sure they maintain their connection to family events, including eating together at least once per week.
- Talk to your teen about possible future challenges and give them the tools to face them. For instance, you might talk about peer pressure, how to say no to drugs, how to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, and how to avoid drinking while driving.
- Guide your teen on how to be respectful and disciplined with their time spent on social media sites and online chat rooms.
These are tips to help your teen maintain live a healthy life as well as strengthen your bond with your teen. With these positive parenting tips, you can safely guide your struggling teen through adolescence and into adulthood.