Navigating Through The Teenage Years

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The popular opinion is that terrible twos are the most challenging period for parents regarding raising their kids. That is until their kids reach their teen years. They wish for terrible twos then! However, we must try to understand as we go through it. It is natural for teens to feel uncomfortable, awkward and confused in their skin at that time. We mustn't stop loving them as this is a very sensitive period for them. We, as parents, must learn how to communicate with our teens. Read this short parents' survival guide to learn more about navigating the teenage years.

The first tip regarding the teen year is open and regular communication, in a slightly different manner than earlier, but still, communication. It is the base for all healthy relationships. The next thing is to try and be understanding of these awkward years. Moreover, there should be certain social media ground rules. And at no point should we disregard our mental health. If you want your teen to behave in a certain way, you should show them with your example, so remember always to be a role model.

1. Communicate

When you think about the different time periods in your kid's life, you can also notice the differences in communication. You communicate with your baby and bond as soon as it's born. The baby starts communicating back with gestures, movements and short words. When they reach toddler years and start attending an early learning centre, the communication becomes more advanced. As your child grows and enrols on school, the communication changes again. This is probably the most challenging period for connecting through communication until you reach the teen years. However, you must make one thing clear to your teen: they don't always have to be in the mood to talk with you, but they must know they can always come to you with any problem or concern.

2. Try to be understanding

Teenagers struggle with hormonal disbalance, so it's sometimes hard to understand. That's why in this period, they are more susceptible to peer pressure, their emotions are like a roller coaster, they gravitate towards certain behaviours, they are less empathic, and they can't control their impulses so well. It's all pure biology, resulting from hormonal disbalance. This change that is happening in the brain affects teens' sleep patterns, meaning that they might not be ready for bed when you want them to, and they might have difficulty getting up in the morning. Getting into arguments over sleep is useless, as that is not how they want to do things. It's simply their need at that moment.

3. Set social media ground rules

The effects of social media can be harmful, especially for teens in this sensitive period of life. To avoid that, setting specific social media and phone ground rules for teens is necessary. Teenagers need boundaries in their virtual lives, as they cannot see right from wrong clearly in this confusing age. Your goal should be to develop mutual trust. You need to help them realise that not all life is online and that there are offline things they can enjoy too. For instance, find some activities you can do together. It can be hiking, climbing, swimming, cake decorating or whatever. Even though they probably won't be thrilled initially, you'll see they enjoy the activity later. What's more, they can take some awesome pics for social media!

4. Be mindful of the mental health

Mental health is of the same importance as physical health, but even so, it is often neglected. The thing is that specific mental health issues begin as early as in adolescence. Observe your teen and how they behave. You need to know your kid and follow your intuition to notice if something's wrong. We live in a completely different world, and they are teenagers in this technologically advanced age, so we can't compare every aspect to when we were teens.

5. Be a role model

If you want your teens to display certain behaviours, you must show them with your own example. For example, you can't expect your teen to be off the phone for some time when they see you constantly on the phone all day. That doesn't work. You must show what you want them to acquire. Try to have your life in balance, eat a well-balanced diet, be physically active, sleep well, have a fulfilling hobby, participate in family activities, and your teens will follow along.

When you know all the aspects of teen years, it is much easier to find a way to be more understanding and connect with your teen on a new level. 

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