The teen years are a time of change and growth for both parents and children. As your child transitions from childhood to adolescence, their behaviour will change as well. It can be difficult to navigate these changes, but it is important to stay connected with your teen and try to build a strong relationship.
Why does your child’s behaviour change when they become a teen?
A child’s behaviour can certainly change drastically when they transition into their teen years. This dramatic shift is largely attributed to the physical, emotional, and psychological changes that they are experiencing.
- Physically, they are going through rapid growth spurts which can affect their confidence and self-image.
- On an emotional level, adolescents are dealing with a rollercoaster of hormones and emotions which can cause them to act impulsively or in ways that surprise their parents.
- Finally, psychologically, teens will often push their boundaries with their parents as a way to establish their own identity separate from the family unit.
All of these changes can manifest themselves in outbursts or defiant behaviours which can make it hard for parents to help guide and support their teens.
What behavioural changes should you look out for to protect your teen?
Unfortunately, apart from the natural behavioural changes of a teen from an ugly duckling to a swan, there are also suspicious things to look out for:
- Poor impulse control. Teens tend to act without thinking and are more prone to taking risks.
- Rebellious behaviour. They may take part in activities that you do not approve of or break rules without thought.
- Signs of depression or anxiety. Teens may become withdrawn, express feelings of sadness or hopelessness, or show changes in sleeping or eating habits.
- Substance abuse. More common during the teen years, this can be a cause for concern if your teen is experimenting with alcohol, drugs, nicotine or other substances.
In order to protect your child, it is important that you as a parent are able to talk to your teen and build a trusting relationship. It is very difficult for a teen to open up at this age, especially to a parent, but communication and understanding are essential for improving your relationship with your teen. Apart from that precautions don’t hurt, keep an eye on your teen for more information on this can be found at www.revolutionwifi.net. But also try to respect your child’s privacy.
How to improve your relationship with your teen
It is important to remember that adolescence is the most tender age. No longer a child, but not yet an adult. Ready to do adult things, but not ready to take responsibility for them. It will not be easy for you as a parent, so be patient.
- Create a grey area. Adolescence is oppositional, it will do everything against you, testing your strengths and exploring the limits of what is acceptable. The challenge for parents during this period is to strike a balance between inhibitions and permissions. Remember how easy it was with a five-year-old? You could do this and you couldn’t do that. For a teen, you have to create a third option: a ‘grey area’. There will be things you don’t approve of but are willing to allow – wearing jeans with holes in them or getting piercings; each family’s grey area is different. Why should you allow it? Transition is a time when experimentation is allowed. If you forbid experimentation, your teen will still make their share of mistakes, he just chooses them from a “black list”. And they will leave the consequences to you to deal with, without a “trust relationship.
- Respect the teen’s space. It’s common knowledge that teens need privacy and “space” from their parents. Respect their space but also make it clear that there are limits, for example, the bedroom door should not be locked, etc. Make sure to respect a teen’s feelings and opinions; if you don’t agree with them, explain why in an age-appropriate way.
- Respect the feelings of the teen. Teens go through many emotional changes and it can be difficult for them to express their feelings. Show your teen that you respect his feelings by listening without judgment, and being patient as he or she figures out how to deal with different emotions.
- It takes a mood for affection. The need for affection in a teen is almost as strong as in a young child. Younger children will always come up to you to “pet” them. You cannot expect this from a teen, even though he or she needs it too. Receiving petting is a right, not an obligation. So do not be offended if, in response to your show of affection, he mutters grudgingly: “I’m not a little boy. So now he does not need it. Understand when he needs it and approach it. This is how you will gain your child’s trust. A hug at the right time equals a thousand words.
- Replace criticism with discussion. It’s natural for a parent to want to correct and guide their children – however, teens do not respond well to direct criticism. Instead of scolding or lecturing them, try to talk about situations and problems as if it were a discussion between peers. Ask questions that encourage them to think critically and explore what they could have done instead. This kind of exchange will give you greater insight into your child’s thoughts and feelings, which can help you develop mutual understanding.
The main task of parents is not only to pass on responsibility to their children but also to help them cope with it – especially during the teen years. It is important to set boundaries and expectations, but also to provide your child with emotional support and guidance. This can be done by listening and being understanding when they express themselves – no matter how overwhelmed or angry they feel.
And of course, don’t forget about yourself, it’s important for parents too. Be sure to make time for yourself as well; it helps to make sure that you are not just emotionally exhausted by caring for your teen.
The teen years can be a difficult transition for both parent and child. However, with the right approach, it is possible to develop a healthy relationship with your teen. Instead of focusing solely on controlling their behaviour, parents should strive to provide guidance and support in order to foster positive growth and development. Understanding why children behave differently when they become teens is an important step that leads to improved communication between a child and their parents. Taking small steps such as spending quality time together and openly discussing issues will help strengthen the bond between you and your teen. Keeping these tips in mind will lead you down the right path to having a successful relationship with your teen.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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