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Parenting Teenagers – Adolescent Development & Parenting Tips (13 – 18)

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There is no doubt that for most families, the teen years present a challenge for both parents and children.

Middle School is not fondly remembered by most who attend.  It is often fraught with scary body changes, bullying by peers and a new surge for independence.  This leads to passive-aggressive behavior (“I’ll do it in a minute”), self-consciousness (“What are you staring at?”) and self-doubt (“I’m not good at anything.”) and/or over-confidence (“Well, I thought I could do that.”) and of course moodiness (“Leave me alone.”).

High School is usually better for most.  It is a time to really begin defining one’s self and realistically contemplating the future.  Skill development is accelerated to prepare for college or job training programs.  Talents are perfected.  Social skills are honed and relationships take on more of a serious nature.  Peer pressure is at its max and in today’s teen society there are more tempting sidetracks than ever.

During adolescence, kids need their parents more than ever.  Research shows that a positive family environment including fun family activities, open parent-child communication and the encouragement to participate in positive extracurricular and community activities, teens are able to navigate these years with relative ease.

Moving Onwards (Encouraging Development):

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[su_spoiler title=”Recommended Books for Parents” style=”glass-blue” icon=”arrow” open=”no” anchor=”age”]

Parenting Teenagers: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting of TeensParenting Teenagers: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting of Teens  By Don Dinkmeyer Sr. PhD, Gary McKay PhD, Joyce L. McKay, Don Dinkmeyer Jr.  Parents know the challenges of raising teenagers. This popular STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) guide is filled with easy-to-understand-and-apply skills that helps parents connect with teens and deal with their “issues.” From the STEP/teen program, with practical guidance on social pressure, dating, grades, career plans, and alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse prevention. This handbook is an excellent choice for parents who want to improve their relationship with teens.  amazon-button

 

Your AdolescentYour Adolescent: Volume 2  Parents, teachers, and mental health workers will find the answers to these- and many other-questions in this forthright yet compassionate guide to helping your adolescent through the tumultuous teen years. From peer pressure and self-esteem to experimentation with sex, alcohol, and drugs, this invaluable resource covers a wide range of practical issues. Here as well is information on more serious obstacles to a teen’s development that may require professional intervention, such as depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and disruptive behavioral disorders. As surely as every child will become a teen, every person that must relate to a teen will find this book a reliable, indispensable guide to the ups and downs of adolescence.  amazon-button

 

The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young AdultsThe Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults  Drawing on her research knowledge and clinical experience, internationally respected neurologist—and mother of two boys—Frances E. Jensen, M.D., offers a revolutionary look at the science of the adolescent brain, providing remarkable insights that translate into practical advice for both parents and teenagers.  amazon-button

 

Parenting Teenagers: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting of TeensParenting Teenagers: Systematic Training for Effective Parenting of Teens  By Don Dinkmeyer Sr. PhD, Gary McKay PhD, Joyce L. McKay, Don Dinkmeyer Jr.  Parents know the challenges of raising teenagers. This popular STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) guide is filled with easy-to-understand-and-apply skills that help parents connect with teens and deal with their “issues.” From the STEP/teen program, with practical guidance on social pressure, dating, grades, career plans, and alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse prevention. This handbook is an excellent choice for parents who want to improve their relationship with teens.  amazon-button

Getting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens + TeensGetting to Calm: Cool-Headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens + Teens  Parenting a teenager is tougher than ever, but new brain research offers new insight into the best way to connect with teens. With humor, wisdom and a deep understanding of the teenaged brain, noted teen expert Dr. Laura Kastler shows parents how to stay calm and cool-headed while dealing with hot-button issues everything from rude attitude and lying to sex and substance use — with clear, easy-to-follow suggestions for setting limits while maintaining a close and loving relationship.  amazon-button

 

The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible ChildrenThe Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children   By Ross W. Greene PhD  This book is great for parents who find they are raising a challenging child.  It helps you discover the lagging developmental skills behind your child’s inability to cope and interact appropriately in different situations.  You will learn how to help them gain these skills while resolving conflict and solving mutual problems.  I recommend this book frequently to parents in my practice.  amazon-button

 

Boundaries- Parents and Teenagers - Sex, Privacy and ResponsibilityBoundaries: Parents and Teenagers : Sex, Privacy and Responsibility  This book was written as a guide to parents to bring better understanding to boundaries: when to set them and when to allow your teen freedom to grow and explore. By working together, parents and teens can create boundaries which give the teen the ability to begin to stand on their own two feet. This book gives examples and will help parents see the world from both sides of the boundary.  amazon-button

 

Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: Expanded Third Edition: A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships Changing Bodies, Changing Lives: Expanded Third Edition: A Book for Teens on Sex and Relationships  This has helped hundreds of thousands of teenagers make informed decisions about their lives, from questions about sex, love, friendship, and how your body works to dealing with problems at school and home and figuring out who you are. It’s packed with illustrations, checklists, and resources for the answers you really need. Best of all, it’s filled with the voices, poems, and cartoons from hundreds of other teenagers, who tell you what makes them feel worried, angry, confused, sexy, happy, and, yes, even excited and hopeful about their lives amazon-button

 

Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn To Use the Internet Safely and ResponsiblyCyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn To Use the Internet Safely and Responsibly  In Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens, Internet safety expert Nancy Willard provides you with need-to-know information about those online dangers, and she gives you the practical parenting strategies necessary to help children and teens learn to use the Internet safely and responsibly.  amazon-button

 

Family Fun NightFamily Fun Night  More than ever before, family time faces stiff competition from other activities that appeal to kids:  video games, text messaging, and checking in on friends through mySpace or Facebook.  Family Fun Night offers the antidote:  Tips and advice for establishing a weekly family time, as well as dozens of specific ideas for spending quality time together.   This comprehensive book suggests ways to interest teens. amazon-button

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[su_spoiler title=”More Resources on the Internet” style=”glass-blue” icon=”arrow” open=”no” anchor=”age”]

Medline Plus:  Adolescent Development

American Academy of Pediatrics: Teen Issues

National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens

StopBullying.gov

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Teen Driving

Kidshealth.org: Online Safety

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Adolescent Developmental Milestones

 

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12 – 15 years of age

  • Puberty: Rapid growth period
  • Secondary sexual characteristics appear: grow body hair, increase perspiration and oil production in hair and skin
    • Girls – breast and hip development, the onset of menstruation
    • Boys – growth in testicles and penis, wet dreams, deepening of voice Tremendous physical growth: gain height and weight
  • Body Image
    • Preoccupation with physical changes and critical of appearance
    • Anxieties about secondary sexual characteristic changes
    • Peers used as a standard for normal appearance (comparison of self to peers)

15 – 18 years of age

  • Secondary sexual characteristics advanced
  • 95% of adult height reached
  • Puberty is completed
  • Physical growth slows for girls, continues for boys
  • Body Image
    • Less concern about physical changes but increased interest in personal attractiveness
    • Excessive physical activity alternating with lethargy

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13 – 14 years of age

  • Growing capacity for abstract thought
  • Mostly interested in the present with limited thought to the future
  • Intellectual interests expand and become more important
  • Deeper moral thinking

14 – 18 years of age

  • The continued growth of capacity for abstract thought
  • Greater capacity for setting goals
  • Interest in moral reasoning
  • Thinking about the meaning of life

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12 – 15 years of age

  • Struggle with a sense of identity
  • Feel awkward about one’s self and one’s body; worry about being normal
  • Realize that parents are not perfect; increased conflict with parents
  • Increased influence of peer group
  • Desire for independence
  • The tendency to return to “childish” behavior, particularly when stressed
  • Moodiness
  • Rule- and limit-testing
  • Greater interest in privacy
  • Autonomy
    • Challenge authority, family; anti-parent
    • Loneliness
    • Wide mood swings
    • Things of childhood rejected
    • Argumentative and disobedient
  • Peer Group
    • Serves a developmental purpose
    • Intense friendship with same-sex
    • Contact with the opposite sex in groups
  • Identity Development
    • “Am I normal?”
    • Daydreaming
    • Vocational goals change frequently
    • Begin to develop own value system
    • Emerging sexual feelings and sexual exploration
    • Imaginary audience
    • Desire for privacy
    • Magnify own problems: “no one understands”

15 – 18 years of age

  • Intense self-involvement, changing between high expectations and poor self-concept
  • Continued adjustment to changing body, worries about being normal
  • The tendency to distance selves from parents continued the drive for independence
  • Driven to make friends and greater reliance on them, popularity can be an important issue
  • Feelings of love and passion
  • Autonomy
    • Conflict with family predominates due to ambivalence about emerging independence
  • Peer Group
    • Strong peer allegiances – fad behaviors
    • Sexual drives emerge and teens begin to explore their ability to date and attract a partner
  • Identity Development
    • Experimentation – sex, drugs, friends, jobs, risk-taking behavior

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