As we work through our series on parenting, one season that must be addressed is that of the teenage years. This can often be a time of great stress– the term “trauma” is not an overstatement. Here are a few points to consider when navigating these years that are not for the faint of heart.
I. Stresses Impacting the Teenage Years
- Hormones going crazy, couples with tremendous physical growth.
- Intense feelings and emotions. (The swings can be extreme!)
- A radically changing body and self-image.
- Increased sensitivity to peer opinion/pressure.
- A school format change from one teacher to many teachers, along with a range of different subjects.
- Feelings of insecurity and extreme self-criticism.
- Sexual thoughts that both frighten and excite.
- Fantasies about romance.
- Girls who are already adult size and shape, and some boys who are mature, while others are a bit clumsy.
- The reality that in many ways, they are still children, while in other ways they are almost adults.
- Slights and rejections which are a big deal.
II. Suggestions to Parents for Surviving the Teenage Years
- Try not to take their moods personally.
- Break through their walls with humor, and games.
- Give them space and time alone.
- Have adult conversations; they are almost there!
- Treat them as adults, but realize they will still act like children at times.
- Compliment them on their mature moments.
- Don’t expect them to parent younger siblings. But, let them help!
- Think of creative ways for them to pay off mistakes.
- Cut them some slack; don’t confront every behavioral infraction (esp. the minor ones) with the same degree of intensity.
- Do not give up. We can do all things through Christ (Phil. 4:13).
- Don’t build your lives around your teen-agers.
- Periodically get away from the house and your teen-agers. In a few years they’ll be doing that to you!
Next, we will focus specifically on the role of fathers.