Having your child become a teenager, can be one of the most fearful times of a parent’s life! Wondering what is normal, when to call 911 and when to just hug them… are often parr for the course.
I recently came across this article by Sue Shellenbarger in the Wall Street Journal, called “What Teens Need Most from Their Parents”. Shellenbarger outlines the cognitive stages of development for pre-teens and teen and the emotional needs at each stage, giving concrete suggestions for how to best support your teen during this time. It was re-assuring to see how some behaviours that I might consider extreme, are all part of the developmental process, for most teens, and not warranting of panic (at least no more so than the relatively normal behaviour of a two year old that likes to run into the road regularly!!)
This article shares some insights about building resilience and coping skills in your kids. It does not, however, address the social issues that impact teens, such as poverty, violence, racism and homophobia. These are the responsibility of the adults, the parents, you and me, to continue work on in order to make our world a more supportive place for the humans in them.
I like how Shellenbarger brings the focus back to staying connected, because, no matter what the situation, listening, physical affection and support will only make things better for our teens.
Hope you find this article helpful:
For more on parenting see Too Many Sticks & Carrots
For children and mental health see Are the Kids Okay? – Children & Mental Health
Also see Time to “Quit” School
For ideas about alternative education see Quitting School- Part II (A more literal interpretation)