The change from baby to child can seem really sudden, but the change that creeps up over time is when your child becomes a teenager. One minute they are playing with dolls, the next they are worrying about how they look and are spending all their time on social media. Here are some of the things parents need to know when their child is heading towards the teenage years.
Being Rebellious is an Important Part of Growing Up
There are a number of reasons why teenagers go through a rebellious phase. Not only is it to do with the way their brain and the way they see the world, but they are also becoming more independent. If your teenager argues with you more than their other parent, feel honored — teenagers will often rebel harder against the parent they are closest too.
Friendships Get Rocky at This Age
If your child has had a solid friendship group since elementary school, you may think this will carry them through the teenage years. Unfortunately, kids change a lot and join different circles, so someone who is your child’s best friend one day might be ignoring them the next. This can lead to a lot of drama. The best thing you can do in these situations is let your teenager handle it themselves but provide a listening ear and advice if they seem open to it. Of course, if you suspect bullying, then you should intervene by contacting the school.
You Will Need to Look Out for Their Mental Health
Around half of mental health conditions are established by the age of 14, so this can be an important time to look out for any unusual behavior patterns or changes in your teen. If your teenager does have a mental health problem, they’re not alone. Around 20% of teenagers will suffer from a mental health issue in a given year, and while this can occasionally be something that the school counsellor can deal with, for more serious conditions like PTSD you may want to consider residential trauma treatment. Dealing with poor mental health now can help them for the rest of their lives.
You’ll Need to Seriously Monitor Their Internet Use
From their homework laptop to their smartphone, there are a ridiculous number of ways your teenager can access inappropriate content, post personal details about themselves or otherwise do things that their parents wouldn’t approve of. While you can add parental controls, it can be hard to keep ahead of new apps and fads, so it’s better to speak to your teen about responsible internet use. For example, this might involve telling them not to post anything they wouldn’t want the world to see, advising that they not trust that people are who they say they are, and getting them to understand that everything they post is permanent.
They May Need a Talk About Relationships
While schools will often teach the basics of sex education and contraception, it’s up to parents to guide their teenagers through love and first relationships. From consent to texting, there’s a lot to teach teenagers that they just don’t learn in school, and while your teenager might cringe at the time, they will no doubt appreciate the advice.