Well, you’re not alone. Do you know that they do not understand themselves either? Why?
The adolescence stage
When we talk about teenagers, we talk about the age between 13 and 19 inclusive. They actually fall under the category of the adolescence stage because it is during this period that they go through the onset of puberty and it can be as early as 9 years old.
The onset of puberty comes with its chemical changes in the body which brings about the physical and emotional changes.
Adolescence is basically the transition between childhood and adulthood.
The adolescent development encompasses various dimensions. These dimensions include: social , physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual (moral values)
Social, Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Spiritual
SPIES – we practically need to be spies to manage/understand our teenagers well. Why? In order to understand and communicate well with your teenagers, you need to find out more about what being a teenager encompasses. You need to not only find out more about the changes that they are going through, understand them and use that knowledge to get to know them better. Be a spy in getting to know your teenager as a person too. What are their likes and dislikes, who are their friends and what are their dreams and aspirations.
Let us try to understand the changes at the different dimensions starting from the social aspect first.
Social changes in adolescence is one aspect that can be notably observed.
It is a phase where they push for independence and want to move away from their parents. It’s a phase where their peers take greater importance in their lives than their parents and they start exploring romantic relationships and sexuality.
Being aware of the fact above will help you manage when you acknowledge and accept that it is part of their natural progression into adolescence, thus instead of going against this, support them. Know who their friends are, what their shared interests are. It sometimes helps to get to know who the parents of their friends are too, if it is possible so that you can actually get support from each other. Monitor them, yet give them some space so that they don’t find it too stifling. You’ll be amazed at how much they are willing to share with you and trust you about their friends and experiences when they sense that you trust them.
Understand that they need their peers as an important source of social support and companionship during adolescence, and adolescents with positive peer relationships are happier and better adjusted than those who are socially isolated or have conflictual peer relationships.
*Gasps* Yes, you did not read this wrongly “ they start exploring romantic relationships and sexuality.”
We have to acknowledge that it is a process that they will go through. They will want to know more about the opposite gender. Let that talk about their curiosity of the opposite gender and what is right or wrong in their social interactions be something that you as parents discuss and talk openly with them. If we are not willing to take this up with them, trust me there are many sources out there that they can find out from. Worse is knowledge that is not guided by values or they are swayed by what their peers or information on the web guides them to be true, because what is common may not necessarily be morally right.
Communicate and discuss matters openly – 2 way communication
Accept and acknowledge the changes that your child is going through
Limits that are discussed and accepted together
Listen without judgement – a very important aspect of communication
Sign up at this link below for an insight of how I look at adolescents’ development from the angle of SPIES and how parents can support them through this “storm and stress” phase this 11 July 2021 http://tinyurl.com/webinarjuly21