can be the most rewarding work of adult life. Nothing brings
more joy and pride than a happy, productive, and loving child.
Each age and stage of a child's development has specific goals
and tasks. For infants, it is to eat, sleep, and explore their
world. For adolescents, it is to become their own person with
their own group of friends. Adolescents need many skills in
order to successfully achieve their goal of increased independence.
Some adolescents do not make this transition smoothly. Their
movement toward independence can cause stress and grief for
parents. Some aspects of this rough transition are normal
and, while stressful, should not alarm parents.
early is the best way for parents to prepare for their child's
adolescence. The following are ways that parents can prepare
themselves and their child for a smoother transition and greater
success in achieving the tasks of adolescent development:
safe and loving home environment
an atmosphere of honesty, mutual trust, and respect
age appropriate independence and assertiveness
a relationship that encourages your child to talk to you
responsibility for their belongings and yours
basic responsibility for household chores
the importance of accepting limits
are complex processes which occur gradually and start during
infancy. A teenager's adolescent years will be less stressful
when parents and child have worked together on these tasks
throughout the child's earlier development.
to talk openly about problems is one of the most important
aspects of the parent and child relationship. Developing this
relationship and open communication takes time, persistence,
and understanding. The relationship develops gradually by
spending time with the child. Meal times, story telling, reading,
playing games, outings, vacations, and celebrations are important
opportunities for parents to spend time with their child.
Parents should also try to spend some individual time with
each child, particularly when talking about difficult or upsetting
things. This relationship creates the foundation for talking
with the child when struggles and conflicts emerge during
relationship which is very stressful or troubled during the
preadolescent years can be a strong signal that professional
help may be needed. Parents investment of time and energy
in the child's early years can prevent small problems of childhood
from becoming larger problems of adolescence.
#56 Updated 02/97