Summer is here, school is out, and now parents are challenged with keeping their 13-14-year-olds on track. If you have a 13-14-year-old, you may be already acutely aware that this is an emotional time of passage for kids. When necessary, skills, such as home rules, become neglected as other things take over their lives, such as their friends’ thoughts and opinions. The kids in this age group aren’t fully mature yet, so things like the opinions of others and doing what is essential at home can get pushed to the back seat. Stress in their lives becomes apparent to those around them, like parents, and outbursts and anger surface more often than not.
Handling these and other challenges for kids at this age affects them through to adulthood and often causes masked problems for them as adults, for which they cannot remember a source. The stability of the parent when handling stress and inconsistency is very crucial for kids at this age. They need calm parents, who give them a little room to be independent and make mistakes, without hurting themselves, of course. Giving kids a small space, even when you want to enforce a rule or practice at home, can provide kids with a bit of room to own a particular behavior later on. That “later on” might be the same day or week, or maybe years later. These topics will rise again, and thoughts exchanged more maturely for both the parent and adolescents
Kids at this age need help with working through friendships. Sometimes that means choosing friends; other times; it means helping them have difficult conversations with their friends about something that has come between them. It is vital to enable them to know that friendships sometimes have a season and when that season is over, and things don’t seem to be the same as they were, it is okay to end a relationship. When we help kids negotiate relationships in life, we give them life-long skills upon which they can draw on in the future. Relationships are one of the most challenging aspects of life, and helping kids are calm when they want to be angry or even be aggressive with someone may be just the skill that saves them in a job later on in life.
Finally, the solidity of the family helps kids this age tremendously! When they can come back to their family, be themselves, and be relaxed, they have a haven to retreat to when life seems unfair. The two critical aspects of making these works are trust and communication. We will cover these in the next blog. Meanwhile, leave a comment regarding the challenges you have noticed with kids of this age.
Here is a post in this series regarding 15-16 year old’s Raising Kids Ages 15-16 – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com)
Here is a fun post on 15-16 years old’s in New York City 15-16 years – Growing Up NYC (cityofnewyork.us)
Yours for Better Parenting,