In childhood there are two stages that are similar yet different in the way they need to be handled. The ages are those of two year olds and those of teenagers. These two ages have very different abilities in self-care, yet share a common goal: Independence.
I can do it myself. Many parents will remember this statement coming from the two year old who wanted to put on their own shoes. During the teen years it shows up by wanting to do more adult like behaviors. It is important to recognize that wanting to do something versus being at a developmentally appropriate level to do it are two different things. Teens especially young teens need to earn the privilege to do more adult-like activities. A child who can not take out the trash and clean-u up their room without nagging is not ready to spend unsupervised time with their friends.
Supervision, Supervision Parental supervision is the most important job when discussing a two year old, quiet in the house means trouble. Most parents think that teens need less supervision. They need more. Teens are looking into the adult world with all the curiosity of a two year old. They are looking into drinking, driving, smoking, sex, and other adult activities. These children are not more able to accept this responsibility that the two year old is ready to tie their own shoes. Parents do need to know who their teen’s friends are, who their parents are, where they are going and what they are doing.
Undivided Attention Children at both stages need time with their parents. Two year olds need this time to be held, read to, and reassured. Teens need this time to be mentored, comforted, and supported. Parents who practice active listening really ensure teens have what they need. Active listening requires listening and not judging. Asking your teen,”Are you seeking advice or do you just need me to listen?” This question sets the stage for how you will listen. Teens also sometimes talk more in the midst of an activity. Go for cooking dinner, playing a board or card game, hiking, or walking.
Although, the age changes the temperament and personality do not change. Keep this in mind as you spend time with your teens. Treat them accordingly and you and your teen will come through the teen years with flying colors.
Believe in Parenting
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