Raising Kids Ages 15-16

It seems that once kids reach the age of 15-16, they are ready to take risks in their life.  Their brains are now maturing, and the reward receptors are running at an all-time high.  The 15-16 year age group is the period when kids will do some risky and even dangerous behaviors.  As a high school administrator, most of the students who were in my office for dangerous behavior were of the age of 15-16 years old.  Their actions ranged from car surfing to trying various substances, to hanging with a group of friends who also felt like taking on the world.

Kids at this age fail to assess the situations they find themselves in and often end up regretting it, but not knowing how they got there.  They are simply risk takes and willing to do things that are on edge.  Parenting for this age should include maintaining an active communication line, even demanding honest and open conversation so that you can help them to process their thoughts.  The process of assisting with friendships also continues at this age.  Although they are more mature and now have a preference for types of friends, relationship challenges, and pressures of social media need help from parents.  However, if a stable relationship isn’t present before this age, it becomes much more challenging to break through the communication barrier now.

If a respectful relationship is in place all along, then the task is much more comfortable at this age.  The respect must go both ways.  Parents need to listen to kids without always giving advice or saying, “should have.”  I like what the late Wayne Dyer used to say, “Don’t should on people.”  It is telling that when we say you should have to someone, even an adult, we’re taking them back to the situation that they have already handled the best they could and saying you should have done it this way.  It is a lot like backseat driving.

Keep talking with your teen and stay genuinely interested without giving advice and they will enjoy being around you and will bring you relationship problems that they have in their life presently.

Yours for Better Parenting,

Rich