I lived through single motherhood. The 2 a.m. feedings. The waking early to watch him get into everything. The terrible two’s, teething, sports days and sicknesses. I’m a pioneer when it comes to scrapes and bruises and kissing boo’s better. I have even learned to deal with first crushes, his first kiss and him wanting to do everything without me. So why is it so hard to handle my child becoming a teenager?
I hated being a teen. I mean really hated it. I hated having to grow up. I hated having my body change. PUBERTY sucks! I hated not only going through the physical changes but the emotional changes as well. I can’t even imagine how my son must feel. And yet all I can think about is my baby is growing up.
The teen years are no picnic. The physical changes can be scary. Most kids begin puberty between the age of 9 to 14. Things like acne, menstrual periods, hair growth are easily noticeable. It’s what is not seen that you have to worry about.
Teenagers experience an array of emotional changes as they begin to break away from mom and dad in search of their own independence. It’s a time when kids become aware of how their friends and family truly see them, and some are so desperate to fit in they are willing to do anything.
So what should a parent look for to keep the lines of communication going as their child becomes a teenager?
- Changes in behavior toward parents
- Need to separate from mom and dad
- Search for independence, asking for more responsibility.
- Depression or anxiety along with elevated mood changes.
- Body changes such as weight loss or gain, hair growth, acne
- Lack of communication or embarrassment talking about things that are bothering them
- Forms of rebellion, acting wild, butting heads with mom and dad
- Asserting themselves as more grown up, asking to be treated like an adult
I’ve always prided myself in being a parent who listens to my child, and I think I have a good relationship with my son. I just hate the fact he’s getting older, finding his own way without me. But I know he can’t stay little forever.
As a parent of a teen, you have to ask yourself if you are being reasonable? Your child isn’t a child anymore, and yet not quite an adult. They still need you to support as they begin this journey of unexpected travel.
- Are you letting your teen have their own thoughts or opinions?
- Does their opinion matter?
- Ask them how you can help with whatever they are going through.
As I said, I hate having a teen. I always tell Jake how I feel about him. So he knows I hate him growing up. He’s almost six feet. Thirteen. Size twelve shoe. Has hair on his chin. He’s not a baby and I know this but I don’t like it. Jake just laughs and says that I have to let him go sometime.
If I had any advice to give to parents of teenagers looking for help, I’d say communication is key. I never lie to my kids about anything. Keep the talks open and keep the patients on hand. Ignore the attitudes and try to understand your child is like a butterfly in a cocoon waiting for their turn to sprout their wings and take off.
They still need you.
They still love you.
They just want to do it from further away.
Where you once held their hand to walk across the street, you now walk behind them to catch them if they fall. The problem with having a teen is you have to let them fall — unknown.