Often the struggles we find ourselves caught in with our children can be eased by recognizing and honoring their age appropriate capabilities. And with their capable, competent selves appreciated and affirmed, we can now build a strong foundation for the future independent and successful adult we all hope for.
Isnʼt this just what our parenting journey is all about? Growing an adult ready and able to live well? Just what does capable and competent look like through the ages? This series at positive parenting connection covers the different ages & stages from Babies on up, bringing you great information about each phase of childhood!
This is the last part in the series: Teens!
Teens need opportunities to:
~ Fly on their own often and take risks. Our job? To manage our own anxiety as they head out on their own with their new drivers license; to bite our tongue as they try something you KNOW won’t work out; to calm ourselves as they flippantly decide the major, end of semester project is a cinch and can be done right before class and then head out to hang with the guys instead.
~ Take increased responsibilities in many areas. Let them experience the result of leaving that end of semester project to the last minute; give them the keys to the car and errands they can run for you; support adventures that may push your window of comfort but seem to spark them—use them as opportunities to help them think through it all and take charge of themselves responsibly.
~ Discover their passions and pursue them. Put aside your own desires and wishes and regrets from your life to give them the space to find out what sparks them the most. Use these passions as opportunities to give increased responsibilities, to let them fly on their own, to give them more acceptable-to-you risks. Be curious and enjoy the surprises as you watch what excites your teen.
~ Build increasingly intimate relationships. Friendships expand to include more intimate couple relationships. Our respect for our teenʼs age and stage can help us give them the framework in which to explore their deepening relationships. Be it car dating no earlier than 16, lots of inclusion of the boyfriend or girlfriend with family activities, or honest talk about the responsibilities of sex, our clear expectations and calm confidence in our teen allows them to have the positive, growing experiences essential for this age.
~ Have meaningful participation with family and community. Our job? To respect the different ways participation can look—from your teen wanting to open up and share just as you head to bed, to doing activities or chores alongside us, to maintaining family time each night. Show them, by your actions, just what meaningful participation can be, from taking time to visit the elderly neighbor, to volunteering in the community, to playing Monopoly with the family.
Teens! Quite the roller coaster.
Ups, downs, and times you actually can catch your breath for a moment. They are on the verge of separating fully from us—and they need lots of opportunities to practice this in order to enter adulthood with the tools they need for success. Discover what helps you stay calm and connected throughout these years so you can be the positive resource your teen needs.
Step back and give your teen the space to develop a healthy sense of self. They are amazing!
About the Author:
Alice Hanscam is a PCI Certified Parent Coach®, Certified Screamfree Trainer, and owner of
Denali Parent Coaching. Visit her website , facebook page or contact her at
[email protected] for more information.