Raising Teens: What Berkeley & Brooklyn Moms Have In Common

What Berkeley & Brooklyn Moms Have In Common

Mother Daughter Relationships Dr. Trevicia Williams

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Puberty’s effect on teens doesn’t begin to compare with it’s impact on moms. It is a common thread for all moms. There’s a storm of emotional, psychological, physical and social changes that occur during the adolescent years. What’s going on physically greatly affects an adolescent’s needs, desires, interests, and, emotions. As a tween and teen’s physical appearance changes, his or her social influence is altered as well.

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Great social influence is like putting a propeller on the range of emotional transformations adolescents go through. Physical changes, such as breast development, menstruation, facial hair, deeper voice and the like, affect children’s social experiences. Volatile hormones is not an excuse for extremes in moods and behavior, it’s a reality. Rapidly changing hormones is an explosion of chemicals racing through the body. Bodily changes can both positively and negatively affect a child’s social life. Teens who develop slower might experience less popularity than those who mature more quickly. The new attention or lack thereof affects a child’s self-esteem and confidence.

Parents of teens share many of the same concerns, such as:

Family Rules: Chores, Curfews, Driving, Hanging Out, Home Alone, Messy Room, Parties, Phones, Privacy, Screen Time, Social Networking, etc. ; Health and Behavior: Acne, Anger, Body Image, Cliques, Depression, Disorganization, Out of Control Teens, Eating Disorders, Fears, Friends, Insurance, Orthodontia, Passivity, Sleep, Spirituality; Activities, Events & Fun: Biking, Classes, Concerts, Friendships, Halloween, Moving, Parties, Prom, Sleepovers, Socializing, Spirituality, Sports, Summer, Travel, etc; Clothes, Grooming & Their Stuff: Acne, Allowance, Bras, Clothing, Credit Cards, Ebay, Gifts, Hair, Makeup, Phones, Tatoos, Piercings, etc.; and, Dating, Relationships & Sexuality: Dating, Homophobia, Menstruation, Overnighters, Sexually Active Teen, Talking about Sex, The Boyfriend’s Parents, The Pill, etc. and the like.

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Parenting during this stage has proven to be one of the most challenging and trying times of a parent’s relationship with his/her child. However, realizing that adolescence is a stage that will pass and loving them through it makes a world of difference. Here are a few ways to help your child get through this stage:

Listen. In general, most people tend to talk more than they listen; however, it’s important to hear your teen out. Give him your undivided attention. When your teen wants to talk is the worst time for multitasking. Eliminate all distractions such as radio, tv and/or cooking. Show him that you heard what he said by, in your own words, repeating what he told you. If for any reason what your restate is inaccurate, it provides your child an opportunity to explain it another way.

Set a Who, When, Where, and How Rule. During my mother daughter healthy relationship seminar: I Love You But I Can’t Stand You Right Now (TM), I always tell teens that if they want to get more yeses when they ask their parents if they can do something, they need to provide them with answers to who they want to do the activity with, when the activity starts, ends and time they will return home, where the activity will take place, and how they are expecting to get there and return home. When there’s secrecy, there’s cause for concern.

Spend Time Together. Although your teen is gaining more independence, he still needs your love, support, guidance and attention and to have fun with you. Set regular dates to spend quality time together. Simple things like going to Starbucks, playing a sport together, teaching a new skill or letting them teach you something you didn’t know about a topic of interest and watching a movie allows for quality time. Those are times they never forget.

Encourage. Praise and encouragement provides the necessary support your teen needs to stay motivated and perform his best.

Model the Behavior You Want to See. Children learn far more about how to behave by watching their parents than they do by listening to their instructions. For example, if you want your teen to be confident, try to refrain from criticizing yourself in their presence. They are paying attention and taking notes.

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