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Home Scared mom here. How do I prepare my young ones for teen years?

Scared mom here. How do I prepare my young ones for teen years?

Scared mom here. How do I prepare my young ones for teen years.png

Difficult. Confusing. Rebellious. Angsty. These words are just a few of what describes teenage life. No wonder parents are afraid to go through this stage with their young ones. 

That is why parents who want to be diligent agree with H. Jackson Brown Jr. who said that the best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. 

Parents want to foresee changes in their teens, so they can react more positively. After all, the goal of parenting at this stage is to nurture teenage children and teach them sound behavior. 

What are teen years? 

Teens go through a rapid period of growth where they establish their identity and find a place where they thrive. They will face new challenges and face varied experiences for the first time. Though teenage years seem to have a negative connotation, it is a normal part of development. It is characterized by quick changes in the physical, mind and relational.

Physical changes

Actual changes in the brain creates a change in how teens handle stress. It means they might cope with stress differently than when they were younger. A child who used to run to her parents for comfort when feeling sad or angry might now choose to lock herself in her room and refuse to talk to her parents, for instance. 

Studies show that stressors and brain hormones affect teens’ brains more, making them more sensitive, thus affecting their response. This is one reason why teens start certain habits at this age which can overlap until adulthood.

Cognitive and relational changes

Oftentimes, physical changes coincide with cognitive and relational changes. A teen who is struggling with mental health issues like anxiety also goes through changes and pressure from schoolwork, friend groups, and physical illness.  This influences the teen’s enjoyment of home life, academics and activities outside school. 

Critical thinking also starts at this stage. Teens are able to process more complex information in their relationships. These changes go with their desire to experience new things and make more decisions for themselves, often without the guidance of their parents. 

Parent-child relationship changes

There are changes in the parent-child dynamics as teens decrease dependence on their parents. However, their need for love and approval does not change, their words and actions might look different.

How do parents prepare for these changes? 

  • Start early. 

Preparation takes time and starts early. Since communication is the strand that connects parents and their soon-to-be teens, strengthening it is the key. 

  1. Spend time with them regularly. Having meals together is a good chance to connect. 
  2. Talk about issues early. The frequency and quality of these talks allow the teen to share other issues as they come up in the future. 
  1. Model. 
  1. Most often, words speak louder than our words. When parents model positive communication, healthy stress management, teens have the ability to pick these skills up. 
  2. When teens see their parents put mental health first place, they also become open to talk about their mental health struggles. 
  1. Trust and respect. 
  • Teens will make mistakes as they practice making their own decisions, but parents can support them by preparing them for next tests. When they know that parents are there to support and not judge, their confidence to take on challenges increases.
  1. Trust and respect also develop when parents don’t control their teens. Instead parents teach them about responsibility and consequences of irresponsible behavior, so that teens can make informed choices. Parents have to be clear in their boundaries, but also reasonable and flexible. 

Preparing for teen years is an empowering step that parents can make so they become years filled with adventure, new ways of heart-connect, and joy.

Scared mom here. How do I prepare my young ones for teen years?
Brandon Resasco