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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Welcome to the teenage years :)

It sneaks up on you.  You think you have this child raising thing figured out.  Your children are (for the most part) cooperative.  Life is fairly predictable.  And then you realize that things aren't going as smoothly as usual.  Your child with the sunny disposition is questioning everything you say.  He is getting an...attitude.  He sleeps a lot and eats a lot.  He drags his feet when told to do something.  And his room?  It's starting to smell like a locker room.

Welcome to the teenage years.  :)  Now, they're not always as bad as everyone says.  But they DO require some changes on your part as HE is experiencing change in all aspects of his life.  It's a time of transition and transitions mean adapting to new ideas or circumstances or experiences.  For your child, it means major changes in his or her body both externally and internally.  It signals the period of time when your child changes from a child to an adult.

What does that mean for you, his parents?  Well, first of all it means empathy...remembering what it was like when YOU were going through those years.  You may not have ever raised a teenager before but you certainly were one once so you do have insight into the kinds of problems he is facing.  You need to help him understand that the changes he's going through are normal.  And although normal, not an excuse to be disrespectful of his parents and other family members.  Family rules will still be enforced.  There will still be expectations placed on him.  But, with growing maturity will come increased freedom and trust until the day when he is no longer a child but an adult.

It would be nice if all this took place over a short period of time but most kids need several years to transition from dependence on you to independence.  Be patient.  It's going to be easy to get frustrated and annoyed when he rolls his eyes at you or answers with sarcasm but you have to remember that YOU are the adult.  You are still setting an example for him.  Being calm and in control of yourself is probably more important at this stage of life than ever before.

Teenagers do eventually grow up and become adults.   After all, you and I did  :)


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