Are The Teen Years Really The Most Difficult?
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Are The Teen Years Really The Most Difficult?

We parents go along for years in a comfortable parent-child relationship, the one weÂ’ve always known and then suddenly when the kid is about twelve, about to enter junior high, everything changes. ItÂ’s a crisis point, the beginning of the move into adulthood. ItÂ’s a challenge weÂ’ve never had before so we ourselves have to behave differently, as well as relate differently to our child.

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We parents go along for years in a comfortable parent-child relationship, the one we’ve always known and then suddenly when the kid is about twelve, about to enter junior high, everything changes. It’s a crisis point, the beginning of the move into adulthood. It’s a challenge we’ve never had before so we ourselves have to behave differently, as well as relate differently to our child.

When the children are teenagers, parents have to grow up. They are going to go into deeper waters than they have ever been in before.

There are a lot of relational pressures when you’re raising teenagers. They wanted to be more independent. Like a great big baby bird eager to get out of the nest but was not quite ready, and it will be a constant struggle to know when to release and when to hold back. It’s important for the baby birds to get out of the nest, and immediately before they leave, there is going to be awkwardness. If they stayed really secure and comfortable in the nest, they would never get out. We’d end up with a live-in adult child unable to become independent. So these awkward times are very important to get the young adult ready to leave home.

There are also space pressures, especially if you have more than one teen. Your house is likely to be full of bodies. It usually isn’t big enough to hold all of them.

Time pressures are never greater. The kids begin to go their own ways. They begin to miss meals, grabbing something as they go off here and there. They go to school early and stay late for sports.

Another pressure of having adolescents is simply the art of everything they need and want. They’re wearing adult clothes, and those are not cheap. Just sending a young person off in a retreat in anytime of the year costs megabucks. Added financial pressures can put a strain on families.

Adolescents have plenty of pressures of their own. They have to cope with braces, acne, hormonal and emotional changes and simply growing too fast. They often feel unaccepted by others. They wonder what’s wrong with them.

Parental expectations can make the teen years difficult too. Parents so often want their children to do better than they did. Our ambitions for them cause pressures that they shouldn’t have to face.

There are ways to relate well to teenagers. A key to understanding your teens is to become interested in their world. Find out what they’re thinking about in school. Discuss “hot topics.” You may debate them, but do it in the right way.

Another thing is to support them in making their own decisions.

The teen years will be much better if we maintain a good sense of humor, not laughing at the children but with them, and maybe at ourselves.

Yes, the teen years are difficult. But it will help us understand that they are necessarily difficult to a degree, in order to prepare parents and children for the soon coming separation.

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Comments (2)

Great article. I find all the different age stages can be difficult!... however I have had one child go through the teenage years with no problems (I think we owe that to the horses we had) and another had great problems and did suffer loads and still is sometimes at 18. Still have two more children to go through the teenage angst but I am getting better at helping them through it.

We've gone through those years ourselves. Teenage life is really something that parents have to contend with.

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