Teenage years as a time of change

As they grow up you will notice physical, emotional and behavioral changes in your child. The child becomes increasingly influenced by their friends. He or she begins to want to spend less time with parents and family and may even become critical of the family. This becomes particularly tough for parents and caregivers, as it can easily create a sense of failure or rejection for those who are trying their best, but begin to feel that they have not done enough. These changes in your child are normal and characteristic of the transition into young adulthood… and it does not mean that you don’t continue to have an influence.

On the one hand your child has an increasing desire to be independent, while on the other hand not wanting to lose the emotional and physical support of the family. The young teen wants to be like their friends. She wants to do what they are doing, or at least what he or she thinks they are doing.

"All my friends stay out 'til midnight" "All your friends are in bed by 9pm"

Sometimes their behavior is seen as a way of rebelling against their parents, but it is just a way to get more space and independence in their lives, rather than because the parents have done anything wrong.

It is also important to remember that teenagers often communicate not so much through their words but more through their behaviors. This can be especially true of boys.

The prevention-smart parent needs to observe what their child does as much as what they say. You should try to open up communication by showing interest in them and avoiding negative confrontation and prying.

Teenagers have a deep sense of love for their parents, but this may appear to get lost as they go about their day to day lives. Teenagers aren't always good at showing their love and thanks for you as a parent but look out for it as they grow up and mature.

Thank-you for being such a good parent. I'm sorry you've had to wait until my 36th birthday for me to say it...

Prevention-Smart launched for initial evaluation on June 26th 2009. If you have any comments or feedback, please email us via the contact form.