IST Family Therapy

Adolescence – Tips for parents of adolescents

March 9, 2005:

Adolescence is a strange wondrous stage, both for the young person as well as the family. No-one can deny that, just as a tadpole becomes a frog, there are biological changes in children in terms of physical and, somewhat slower, emotional maturity. The family, along with the peers and other social force help shape the emerging adult. Certain tips for parents can facilitate and make this voyage easier, in my experience.

  1. Abraham Lincoln decried the danger of "house divided". In the same way, in the home a house divided is very dangerous for young people. By house divided, I mean when the parents express their disagreement through the young person (by parents, by the way, I don't mean necessarily the biological parents but the parental figures).
  2. The parents involved need to do their "homework", agree on what they expect from the child away from the kids and then present it to the young persons.
  3. Parents need to believe in a multi-faceted self. By that, I mean that we all have multiple facets inside ourselves and we can express different, more functional, more positive, more creative and more loving facets depending on the forces around us. Like a diamond, as you shine the light differently, different facets are expressed. There are ways that parents can help their children with the expression of more positive, more productive facets to be expressed in the young person:
    • The parents must present a unified voice
    • In the family, create a context of confirmation
    • Search for positives and complement and support them
  4. Be aware of the pressures on the child; the adolescent peers, as well as the siblings. Siblings can be a positive and they can also be a negative, stressful and even damaging force in the young person's life. Keep your eyes open and intervene if necessary. Childhood is a short time - help your child to maximize the experience!

Note: These are just tips; they should not replace going to a competent professional.

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