Parenting Issues for Pre-Adolescence & Adolescence
The way one parents a younger child (2-11 years old) may not be as effective with your pre-teen or teenager age 12-18 years old.
The beginning of puberty (11-14) can cause both child and parent to come into conflict over everyday activities and responsibilities.
Parenting Issues for Teens and Pre-Teens
The way one parents a younger child (2-11 years old) may not be as effective with your child age 12-18 years old. The beginning of puberty (11-14) can cause both child and parent to come into conflict over everyday activities and responsibilities.
Your child’s temperament, easy going, difficult or slow to warm affects the flavor of that conflict, and the response required of you. More about that in a minute, but first some background.
Generally speaking, girls begin puberty two years before boys do, between 11 and 13. This is most noticeable in body changes, rounding of hips, breast development and the beginning of menstruation.
Early developing girls often are seen as older and tend to be attracted to older boys. This can be a big headache for parents. Early developing boys are seen as leaders by their peers and tend to grow stronger and taller very quickly in a growth spurt. Your child has no influence over when they begin physically maturing, yet the reactions of their peers to their physical maturity can either help them build or lower their self-esteem.
Socially, your pre-adolescent and adolescent is interested in seeking time and confirmation from his/her friends and spending less time with his/her parents.
Typically for girls, it may be talking on the cell phone, instant messaging friends,Facebooking, going shopping or playing sports on a variety of teams. Boys typically want to hang out with friends to play video games, play sports, ride bikes or skate board far away from home.
As parents, this shift may cause you to feel nervous about the loss of power over your child’s schedule or activities. For parents who are used to the family spending time together, and to planning your child’s activities, it can feel like you are being fired from your job, and losing control over the safety and direction of your child's life.
What do parents and adolescence disagree over? Arguments are mostly about everyday activities such as chores, homework, home responsibilities and aggressive or disrespectful behaviors. Parents who are used to being directive with their children will suddenly get resistance to being “told” what to do.
Easy going children who have been cooperative in the past may continue to be so in adolescence, or may suddenly develop a rebellious streak. Difficult children may become more thorny and refuse to cooperate with anything that is asked of them, while slow to warm teens will withdraw and be challenging to engage.
Though it is natural to feel powerless, and consider giving up on parenting during these demanding years, it is essential to continue creating contact and a positive relationship with your pre-teen or teenager.
Though it is hard to believe from their behavior, you are still their role model. Parents who want to be effective in keeping communication open during these stressful years must work towards the following basic values and behavioral changes within themselves:
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