The high school years tend to be a blur for most parents. Surprisingly, it’s not because these years go by really fast, although this is part of it, but it’s because of all the changes that occur within your teen during these years. These are the adolescent years when your teen’s body changes both physically and hormonally. These changes can cause a whirlwind of things such as changing moods, changing friends, dating relationships and much more. It’s hard for parents to keep up with it all, which can make tensions at home stressed.
All parents naturally want to help their teens throughout their high school years, but most don’t know what to do when all of the above mentioned changes occur. Many make the mistake of trying to control the situation and “hold on” tighter to their teens, which just pushes them further away. The best thing you can do when these changes occur is to continue to be involved in your teen’s life, but take on a more “mentor/guide” type role. Let your teen know you are there for him when he needs you.
In the meantime, try putting yourself in your teen’s shoes…if you can remember that far back, think about the things you went through as a high school teen. Below are a few examples of the things your teen is going through. Learning how to understand what your teen is going through will help you relate to her when she comes to you for advice.
- The Dating Game – As a high school teenager, your teen will no doubt begin to meet new people and want to start dating. The thing about teenage dating is that when two teenagers begin dating, they feel like this relationship is real love. However, as adults who have been there, we tend to look at it as “puppy love.” In most cases, these relationships don’t last – and we know this…but your teen doesn’t. Just sit back, watch and wait. When your teen experiences trouble in paradise, be there for him/her to talk to. When your advice is sought, give it. Otherwise, let your teen learn some of these “lessons in love” on his/her own.
- Friends – As your teen enter high school, he will probably have a closer circle of friends than he did when he was younger. This is because your teen is maturing and beginning to form those life-long friendship bonds with other his age. However, just because your teen has a certain group of friends that he prefers to hang out with doesn’t mean that there won’t be arguments that occur between your teen and his friends. Try not to get involved in these arguments unless you are specifically asked for advice. Your teen needs to learn how to work through problems with his friends on his own.
- Rebellion – Rebelling is just a part of being a high school teenager. All teens do it at one time or another and in their own unique ways. They rebel against their parents and other authority figures because they are trying to gain their own independence. While you should continue to enforce your family rules on your teen, just understand that this is a part of growing up. Sometimes it helps for parents to pick their battles if their teen isn’t doing anything wrong, but is merely being argumentative. However, if your teen’s rebelling is putting himself, or anyone else, in danger – you need to put a stop to it.
The high school years can be rough, but you and your teen will get through them. Just try to give you teen some space and let him figure things out on his own, when possible. Be there when needed, but let your teen come to you. And, try to always put yourself in your teen’s shoes to help gain a better understanding of what he’s going through at this stage in his life.