As human beings, we must all pass through some parental stages in life. We all would become fathers or mother someday. And the aim of most parents is to bring up a child in a safe, loving and happy environment. To parents, the end game is for the child to be a responsible citizen in the society.
However, phases of growth and what it entails can be challenging for parents and guardians. Some adolescents, in their transition to adulthood, often become stubborn and rigid. Their parents, in turn, become frustrated and upset because they do not know how to help the child. Yes, it is a turbulent period for parents, especially when the child is proving to be too difficult to control.
But all hope is not lost: You should deal with the changes from childhood to adolescence from the early years of a child. Children go through a lot of emotional, physical and psychological changes when transitioning to adolescents. And that is why sometimes, parents show apprehension and fear on how to handle the growing child. The following will highlight ways you, as a parent, can prepare your child for a smooth and easy transition to adolescence:
Give Adequate Information: Your child will find the transition much easier when he or she knows what to expect. As a parent, sit your children down and lecture them on the changes going on in their bodies. Most of these changes are hormonal. Tell them that what they are experiencing is normal. Reassure your child that what is happening and what will happen is a natural part of life. Doing so helps them have confidence and faith in themselves. Also, if you give adequate information, it acts as a filter to what your child might hear from their friends, the Internet or the media. Most children believe their parents, first and foremost, before anyone else. Don’t shy away from the inevitable as a parent. Act now!
Maintain Open Communication: Communication is the bedrock of any healthy relationship. If two people do not communicate, they are nothing but strangers. If you do not talk with your child, you are aliens living under a roof. You should become your child’s best friend so that you will be their “go to” for anything. Even though your children are not an adolescent yet, make them know you are available if they need your assistance. Anytime your child initiates a conversation with you, listen attentively. Don’t judge or criticize them while they are still talking. Your child might withdraw from you and stop communicating. Always give your child an opportunity to talk and be expressive. If you keep communication lines open during your child’s formative years, you will be the first person they will confide in during their adolescent years.
Provide a safe and loving environment: The place we spend most our lives is our home. We learn values, morals, character building and what is right or wrong there. To prepare for your child’s adolescence, make sure your home is a safe one. Be assured your child feels loved. Make sure your child sees a need always to return home. Adolescents are known to lash out often because of what goes on in their homes. If your child as a youngster now is always witnessing conflict between you and your partner, it might affect their formative years. The behavior will tell on you as well because they will not be happy to communicate with you, perhaps because either you or your partner (or both) is not a good role model. In short, always endeavor to encourage your child to be expressive at home.
Give more tasks: As we progress through life, we will always face more responsibilities. A child has no care in the world because he/she believes the parents will provide their needs. Adults have too much care because they have to be responsible beings. Let your child handle more tasks than they do already. It teaches or helps them to be responsible. Increase the number of hours they spend reading in a day because readers are leaders. Make sure they do more chores because it prepares them for living alone. Be sure they look after themselves and their belongings, too.
Instill Independence: A fall out of handling more responsibilities is that it instills independence in the child. Adolescents stop relying on their parents so much because they have to forage in the world. They have to grow and find themselves and know what they want to do in life. You can help your child prepare by making him or her aware of what independence entails. Watch your child be in certain situations without interfering. Take note of how he or she handles it. Mistakes aid growth.
Set Limits: You should set limits for your child ahead of their teenage years. A question most parents battle with is how much restriction should I set for my ward while still allowing independence? Do not be afraid to set limits you feel needs to be fixed. Children who live in a home without limits sometimes feel unloved and unwanted. That’s why they lash out. They want to see how far they can go before their parents give them attention.
Be Involved: You can help your child be ready for the next phase by being a part of their lives. Take an active role and not a passive role in their lives. Know their friends. Statistics shows that a lot of adults who went through turbulent adolescent years are negatively influenced by their friends. Peer pressure can cause a student with straight A’s to fall behind because of lack of concentration as well as proper guidance from parents. If you know the kind of friends your child has now, you can curb unforeseen bullying and unnecessary pressure that may occur in the future. Also, be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
Moving from one phase to another can be quite challenging and arduous. Having a good support system to fall back on, irrespective of what happens, is the crown of the difficulties. Help your child transition into an adolescent with these steps. You will most certainly reap the rewards of your labor. Remember, only a happy teen can easily grow up to be a responsible adult. So, be actively involved in all phases of your child’s life.
Photo Credit: Huffpost