Change is inevitable. Almost as inevitable is how much we may fear and/or resist it. When it’s your teen who is dealing with changes and transitions, it can feel doubly as daunting.
Teens are already negotiating the normal but a myriad of changes affect young adults. Their bodies are changing. Social lives may be in flux. Then, f course, there’s all that planning for the future, e.g. college, career, etc.
Clearly, it’s more than hormones that can make your teen moody and unpredictable. Within our current culture, teenagers are expected to navigate a vast array of transitions. As much as they may hate to admit it, they could really use your help.
Common Changes and Transitions from Adolescent to Teen
- Moving from a middle school to a junior high school to a high school
- Preparing oneself to apply for college
- New friends in each of the above settings
- Possibly boyfriends and girlfriends
- Adjusting to different social norms
These are just a few basic examples. Each teen faces their own unique experiences, which may include:
- Injury or illness
- Death of a loved one
- Parents get divorced or separate
The combinations and variations are endless. But there is one constant. For your teen, any of these transitions can feel utterly insurmountable. That’s where you, as the parent, are called into action.
It’s a delicate dance. You will help at times. You will have to reluctantly stand back and let them learn by experience in other situations. No matter what, though, your support is essential.
7 Ways to Help Your Teen with the Challenges of Change & Transition
Self-care — for your child and for you — will be indispensable. Generally speaking, this will include some version of these components:
Regular sleep routines
- Daily exercise and activity
- Healthy eating choices
- Stress management
- Setting aside “fun time” together
- Maintain as many daily, familiar household routines as possible
Remember, they’re teenagers. This means they will, by definition, push back if these measures look too much like rules. Find a balance and lead nay example.
2. Stay Flexible
Be ready to offer choices. Negotiate when it makes sense to do so. Surrender some control when it feels safe to do so.
3. Hone Your Listening Skills
A few guidelines:
- Don’t interrupt or assume you know what they’re going to say
- Check your body language, facial expressions, etc. (no eye-rolling!)
- Listen with the goals of understanding and empathizing
- Make it clear that you are available for them regardless of the circumstances
Your teen will notice that you’re listening with respect. It may take a while but this can encourage them to rely on you more and more.
4. Let Them Feel What They Need to Feel
Don’t make your teen think they must suppress or hide their emotions from you. Their feelings will make you uncomfortable at times. But they need to know they can be blunt and honest with you.
5. Be Consistent
Kids, even as they near adulthood, still need boundaries and rules. Be clear about what is and isn’t okay and stay consistent.
6. Separate Your Feelings From Theirs
Like everyone else, you have your own problems. You have your own underlying issues. Work hard to not project these feelings onto your child. Don’t confuse your journey with theirs and do not tell them what they should or shouldn’t be worrying about.
You’ve been with them all along the way. Remind them about all the times they rose above fears, doubts, changes, and transitions.
You are not in this alone. If you find yourself unable to give the guidance you wish to give to your teen, read more about teen counseling and let’s talk. Reach out today to set up a consultation.
Getting Started With Teen Counseling in Lakewood & Longmont Colorado
We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation. You can schedule your appointment via phone, email, or the contact page on our website. We offer both in-person and online counseling. We’re open to whichever option you feel more comfortable with. We look forward to hearing from you!