Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's More Than Hormones!

It’s raging hormones! Typically parents blame all the ups and down of raising a teen on that one factor - hormones. Normal teen development is really made up of many changes not only in biology, but also socially, emotionally and intellectually. All of these changes are taking place at the same time. But, the timing and speed of these changes is unique to each teen.

As change occurs, it means many things for the teen: new roles in society, becoming mature sexually, and learning to deal with emotions. Other changes include more advanced thinking abilities. Teens start to consider future goals around education and lifestyle choices.

Teens also begin to recognize and challenge parents’ faults. Teens are striving to become more independent. At the same time they want to stay connected - but in new ways.

As teens experience these changes, parents can be supportive and helpful. Here are some tips:

 With emotional and physical changes, parents should remain calm.

 Discuss issues informally and listen, don’t lecture.

 Avoid comparisons to siblings.

 Recognize the teen’s need for privacy.

As teens gain abilities in thinking and reasoning, realize that a teen who debates is not being defiant. The teen is actually checking out new ideas and is on the way to becoming an independent thinker. Be willing to listen to and talk with your teen about those new ideas, but reserve serious conversations for the more important issues involving health and safety. As teens gain more social skills and want to do more on their own, parents can continue to take a firm approach but with an evolving set of boundaries.

It’s not just hormones. Teens experience many kinds of changes on the way to becoming a competent, caring adult.

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