Change is Good, especially when your child becomes a Teenager

Hope everyone is keeping safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

I am a working mom with a high-energy, demanding corporate career and am currently studying Art Therapy. I have decided to enrol in a course that is remedial orientated and to support children through different study techniques.

 This is a very exciting and completely new field of expertise that is helping me to gain insight into the minds of our children and teenagers. I have two sons, the eldest is 12 and moving into his teenage years, and my youngest is 8 years old, and requires a bit more help when it comes to learning.

Too often we all suffer from the dreaded “Mom Guilt” for missing critical milestones in our children’s lives and continuously feel that what we have to offer our children is not good enough. These feelings have a lot to do with the perceived ideas we expose ourselves to, on how to be the perfect parent. Stop thinking that way, we are all doing the best we can in our own individual way and there is no such thing as a perfect parent.

My ultimate goal with this blog, is to help you get inside the minds and emotions of your children and understand what they are going through, during the different development stages of their lives. My hope is that this will allow you to have a new foundation of open communication with your teenagers.

As parents, it is natural that we become concerned when our children start to challenge everything we have taught them since birth. We have very different expectations and dreams for our children than what they might have for themselves. We still want to be involved in every aspect of their lives.

We often forget that they are turning into their own person. They feel pressure from their peers to behave in a certain way and also want to be treated as an adult, BUT they do not have the coping skills and mechanisms to be an adult as they are still going through a developmental stage.

Teenagers have a lot to deal with, they need to find their own identity, they have live up to the expectations everyone else sets for them, in addition they have to deal with peer-pressure. On the flip side they can also be, ego-centric, have short term vision and need the universe to revolve around them. Teens can be quite selfish in their behaviour and want all the focus to be on them. Often, they can’t see anyone else’s viewpoint except for their own.

Studies show that teenagers think short term. Trying to explain to them that certain decisions can have a negative impact on their future is something they cannot comprehend. The natural development for a teenager is to feel that they have full acceptance from their parents about who they are, without judgement. They seek this same level of acceptance from their peers too. Throughout this process, teenagers need the space to work out who they are, what they believe in, and what to choose, all while having a safe and accepting environment with clear lines to thrive in. (Hellios)

Don’t have too many restrictions without any freedoms. Allow your teenagers independence to make their own decisions but at a lower value. Keep in mind not to allow them decisions that they are not ready to deal with.

For example, during an argument about how much time needs to go towards homework and studying verses social life and gaming, discuss your desired outcomes with your child with regards to what homework should be completed by the end of the day and how much screen time and socialising with friends is allowed. This approach, rather than giving your own structured thoughts and timelines will allow your child to structure the day as they wish, as long as the desired outcomes are met. At the same time, discuss the consequences of their actions if they do not meet the timelines. This then allows the child to feel part of the decision and that they have taken a certain amount of responsibility for their actions.

Give your teenager a voice and the right to make their own choice. Invest in teaching your teenager skills that will develop their emotional intelligence and handling of inner conflict, such as calming down, state the problem, admitting where they might also have had some fault in the conflict and jointly come to resolution. Encouraging your teen to identify the feelings behind their anger will help them uncover the primary emotion associated with the incident and then move forward - Julie Baumgardner. I am a strong believer of positive self-affirmations and staying true to who you are.

In the end it all comes down to a mutual understanding and clear communication channels acceptable to both child and parent.

I would like to encourage you to let go and give you teenager an opportunity to make one or two decisions on their own. I would love to hear back from you, if you have found this process valuable.

Wishing you all the best

Amelia

My Views are my own

Covid-19 and Schooling: Please remember that our kids are used to their house being their safe environment, the place where they have fun with no added pressures, home has now become the school without any added benefits of being surrounded by their friends. So if they have tough days and act out a little, remember that this is a very big adjustment for them as well.

If you have any questions or feedback about this article or would like to get in contact, please email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.