What do Teenagers Need? Support your Teenagers well-being.
Parents often approach the teenage years with the fear of the unknown. Up until now their child was fairly predictable but when entering their teenage years, parents can feel challenged. The same child seems to prefer the company of their friends and can become challenging and critical of their parents.
For the young person this is a time of intense physical, psychological and social change. These changes can happen at intervals across the period of adolescence (defined by the World Health Organization as the period between 10 and 19) or all at once. It is this level of change that brings new challenges to both parents and teenagers. When parents can understand the change their teenager is experiencing, it can benefit them in their parenting role and help them maintain a positive relationship with their teenager.
So what do teenagers need?
- Given responsibilities appropriate to their age and maturity.
- Need to know the limits and learn the consequences of their behaviour.
- Need to know about safety; have an opportunity to reflect on risk taking behaviour and become more prepared should they find themselves in danger.
- Adequate sleep, a balanced diet, access to sports and hobbies, and time to relax with family and friends.Need accurate information on their growth and development, and should have access to relationship and sexuality education at home and in school.
- Need open communication with parents on many topics and need their support and encouragement.
What you can do to develop a better relationship:
- Be present; spend time with your teenager and do something together that they like.
- Have discussions where possible and avoid rows. Try to see if there is a funny side to a discussion.
- Eat together; mealtimes can be used as an opportunity to focus informally on family issues.
- Be available to talk; most teenagers will avoid what they see as a ‘prying’ conversation but will usually try to start one when a parent is busy. Let them see you want to talk too. Even though it may appear your input or view aren’t important, they are.
- Notice the things your teenager has done or tried to do rather than focusing on the things they haven’t done.
- Use active listening rather than questioning:
- A little bit of praise and encouragement will go a long way towards your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
- Be aware of peer influence: have regular communication with your teenager which will help you to pick on the type of impact peers are having on them.
There is more information and guidance available and you can find out more on the physical, psychological, emotional and behavioural changes that occur by downloading our free ebook Parenting Positively Teenage Well-being.