Thursday, August 31, 2006

Teen Parenting


It is not difficult to understand how Stressful Experiences affect both the parent and the teenager. Parents need ot keep themselves emotionally fit to deal with this. The stress prepares a person for "fight or flight" to deal with emergencies. Two hormones are released from the adrenal gland. Adrenaline which activates the nervous system at a high level for quick reactions. Noradrenaline activates the anger system to use the muscles and the mouth for fighting. You can readily see the results when both parent and teenager have been stressed. Also both blood sugar and blood cholesterol are elevated to provide energy for the fight. Regular exercise uses the provided energy and brings the release of the adrenaline and noradrenaline. Also to hasten the removal of the extra ingredients in the blood stream vitamin C and vitamin B complex are needed on a regular basis. You can buy stress vitamins over the counter or you can provide them in your food. Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables. Vitamin B complex is found in whole grain cereals and especially in sunflower seed. Exercise regularly and consume the needed vitamins to keep you emotionally fit and relaxed. You can prevent worry and excessive outbursts. You can keep your cool.

The Parents' Basic Role

The major goal of parents with teenagers is keeping a strong, warm relationship. Their youngsters are having enough stress from other sources. Parents should strive to keep the stress level down in the area over which they have the most influence. They need to discuss problems and issues in a sensible, emotion free atmosphere. Parents need to be a friend even in the most difficult type of trouble their teenager encounters. You can readily understand how difficult this role is going to be. You can also understand how important it is for the progress and growth during the teen years. In trying to fulfill the parental role there will be stressful times. You will not feel appreciated. You will receive criticism and verbal abuse from those you love. That is why the stress control principles are so important.
The major goal of parents with teenagers is keeping a strong, warm relationship. Their youngsters are having enough stress from other sources. Parents should strive to keep the stress level down in the area over which they have the most influence. They need to discuss problems and issues in a sensible, emotion free atmosphere. Parents need to be a friend even in the most difficult type of trouble their teenager encounters. You can readily understand how difficult this role is going to be. You can also understand how important it is for the progress and growth during the teen years. In trying to fulfill the parental role there will be stressful times. You will not feel appreciated. You will receive criticism and verbal abuse from those you love. That is why the stress control procedures described in the last chapter are so important.

Growth Problems

Beginning in the early teen years youngsters began a rapid growth period. This causes an embarrassing increase in appetite and bad table manners. Skin blemishes develop due to inability of the body to remove all the waste products fast enough. Disproportionate body parts also make the adolescent unattractive in looks. Parents would do well not to comment too often on these problems which bother their growing child. An occasional discussion about the growth process may help to relieve some of their worry. Time indeed will overcome these temporary problems.

Early Maturers and Late Maturers

Another problem arises for those who do not mature at the same time as their age mates. Early maturers stand out conspicuously from their friends. Late maturers probably suffer more emotionally for they look like a school age child and talk like one as well. They feel the blows of peer jokes. Some girls begin their growth as early as 10 and as late as 15 with the majority between these extremes. Some boys begin as early as 12 and as late as 17. You can be certain that your early and late maturers are suffering from negative comments from their peers. A few positive explanations and appropriate hugs may help relieve some of the emerging stress for them. If possible, parents can open some doors in other areas where they may find some needed positives.
The early maturing Girl begins her growth spurt around ten years old. She is still in Elementary School and stands out among her peers. Whether she is rejected or not, she will find few of her own age with similar interests. Older girls are not usually available for friendship in their school environment. When parents become aware of this problem, they will seek to work out opportunities for their daughters to find positives in other areas: dancing classes, sports outlets, gymnastics, swimming, skating, art, music. Here they will also make friendships with older girls.

When the early maturing girl reaches 13, her female characteristics make her appear to be 16 or older. This naturally brings attention from boys who are older. Most boys her own age have just begun their pubescent growth. She will receive the opportunity for dating. She will want to go out and will talk to her parents about this. Being dictatorial and rigid will only raise the daughter's stress level. Using reason and discussion may influence her to wait until she is older. Compromises are possible permitting her to go out in groups. Let her know that you are giving guidance and help, but she is making the final decisions. When she is happy, enjoying school life with many activities, and relates to friends, the parent will have less worry.

If the parents promote stress by blocking her normal interests in boys, the daughter is much more likely to turn to dating to get her positives. Her experiences will be secret, she will not likely go to the places where the teens gather. Love making will be more paramount than social development. Because of her stress she will be more susceptible to smoking, alcohol and drugs. If is much better for their daughter that the dating be approved and guided. It can develop in a more open manner and proceed in the direction similar to the average maturing teenagers.

The parent wants to make a real effort to keep the other areas of their daughters life as satisfying as possible. She is having considerable stress in her adjustment anyway. Giving her more aggravates her problem. Avoid arguments and confrontations. Promote discussions and friendly exchanges. Control the negatives and accent the positives as often as you can. Keep the relationship strong, love her, stand with her in an understanding way, and help her in every way you can. This is an exceedingly delicate matter which parents must handle with extreme care. The early maturing girl, although she seems by age to be young, has the capacity for reasoning and should be approached accordingly.


Coinciding with the physical growth the mind of the adolescent is growing as well. The early maturer will demonstrate this early while the late maturer will be delayed. Mental growth also leads them to want to make more of their own decisions and resent parental control and interference with their lives. Parents should realize that their authority and supervision must take a different direction. Granting complete freedom is disastrous but too much control causes deceit and rebellion. The middle of the road position says that decisions are made through discussions. Parent and teenager work this out together. Parent does not dictate, teen does not proceed without first consulting the parent. The parent does not want to become a block and a barrier which brings serious stress to their growing youngster.

The parent realizes that mental processes are active in their teenagers. Time needs to be taken for one to one discussions. Normally the opposite sex parent has more influence but both parents need to have regular talks. Listen attentively to your adolescents point of view and encourage input. Keep the line of communication active. Give your teenager the feeling of your friendship. You are not there to dictate the answers. You want to understand how they feel and how they look at the situation. Listen for areas of agreement and evidence of good thinking. Make positive comments. On the other hand restrain negative feelings and arguments which degrade the teens thinking. When the parent feels strong emotion emerging from either side it is time to postpone the discussion. End the interaction in a positive way to avoid offending the youthful thinker. If you should lose your patience, be sure to apologize for the display of anger. This keeps the parents stress level down and restores the strained relationship.

As a parent you cannot always win because this reflects on the teen. Try to sense those occasions when you cannot win agreements. Think about compromise which gives you some of what you want. You need always to let your teenager feel that you are seriously considering his feelings and his thoughts. Avoid quick decisions and ready answers. This proves to your adolescent that you are thinking about it yourself in a very serious way. When you express your disagreement, it will have more weight. Dealing with the adolescent decision making process is a critical matter for the parent. If handled properly there is assurance that the thoughts of the parent will also be considered.


Peers influence adolescent thinking. They receive much input from their friends of both sexes. In the area of social relationships peer influence is quite strong. Adolescents also receive degrading and criticism when they do not agree with the group. More than this sanctions are applied in the form of name-calling and being a temporary outcast. Try to devise some kind of project, so that you can get some help from the teenage group. This gives you an opportunity to get to know them. Your goal is to keep positive relationships with the members of the group. Be especially nice to them by offering snacks. In all of these activities you want to stay in the background and listen to the conversations. Give them as much freedom as possible.



Pressure is often quite strong. Parents are well aware that their teenager will face serious decisions to make in the area of drinking, smoking, using drugs, engaging in premarital sex and staying out late at night. With the advent of AIDS the concern of parents is elevated. What can parents do to reduce experimentation in some of these dangerous areas of teen life?

Every effort should be made to maintain a good relationship with the teenager. Keeping a positive relationship and keeping the stress level down go a long way in reducing the influence of peers. Negative feelings from parents increase the tendency to go along with peers. Positive feelings keep emotions down and open the door for more serious thinking.

A second approach is through the school and church. Support efforts to get the message before groups of adolescents by professionals. The physician, the psychologist, the social worker and the minister need the opportunity to present important information in the critical areas of alcohol, drugs and sex. It is better for these discussions to come from these professionals than directly from parents. Keep these issues before them in this way permitting questions and answers, give and take.

Get to Know Your Teenagers Friends

It is important for parents to know the social companions of their teenagers. These are the ones who will influence their thinking. Learn about this in general conversation not in probing questions. Try to meet them in brief interactions. You can also have a friendly chat while your son or daughter is coming to the phone. Keep up with the teen activities, especially sports and social events so you can keep conversations going.


Numerous problems will arise in the teenagers life in school and social relationships. There are ways that you will know when stress is building up in your teenager. Irritability will increase, there will be less friendly social interaction, they will be detached with a far away look in their eyes, appetite may decrease, their eyes will look glassy and watery, grades will go down. When these behaviors become apparent, the parent should try to initiate a discussion: "I believe something is bothering you." The parent cannot probe or be a detective but must wait for the teenager to make the move. You have indicated your concern and your willingness to be of help. Parents need to be patient and understanding during these times of stress build-up. Be a friend who listens and withholds critical judgments. Restrain the negatives and keep the positives flowing.

Tread Lightly on Areas of Disagreement

Your goal is to influence your teenagers thinking and to lead them into a better understanding of the issue. You plant your ideas and let it go at that. A parent cannot control the adolescents decisions. He must act as a counselor. The relationship must be kept intact. The stress level must be kept down

SCHOOL COURSES BECOME MORE DIFFICULT As the teenager moves on in high school the courses become more difficult and more time for study. Parents become quite disturbed when academic effort declines. It is important to show concern but not in a negative and degrading way. Keep the goals before them, encourage them, express your hopes for them, and your belief in them. Let the questions and discussions come from the teenager. A teenage girl complained to her friend: "my mother has six eyes, four noses and a big mouth." She felt watched and bossed. She resented being treated like this. This feeling was detrimental to get her engaged in schoolwork. As in other areas the parent maintains the usual role of counselor and friend.


If the teenagers get into serious trouble, they need their parents even more. Premarital pregnancy needs special love and support. The health of the daughter is at stake. Stress also endangers the developing fetus as well. Be at her side as she faces the critical decisions before her. Keep the negatives down and provide all the assistance you can offer.

Drug and alcohol problems also need parental love and patience. Professional help is needed. The problem is too great for parents to handle by themselves.

Automobile accidents and run ins with the law are also serious problems for parents to contend with. These are growing experiences. Most adolescents do not repeat these mistakes.


The teen years providing lasting experiences of growth. Maturity is a slow but sure process. Knowledge is acquired, wisdom is gained, personality and character are molded. Your child emerges as an adult taking his place in a chosen career and becoming a creative participant in society. Parents will be pleased and proud. TEENS ARE LIKE EXPLORERS They are traveling in the unknown ways of life.They are trying to find their way and reach their goal.They are prepared with family values to light their journey. Some trails so inviting and appealing bring pain rather than joy. Some trails are rocky making travel slow and uncomfortable. The explorer listens cautiously to those on the same road.Suspicion arises for those who know all the right trails.They have more confidence in their own personal experiences.They must find their own way. No one can do this for them.They like to tell their story to an understanding ear.They like to ask questions of a friendly guide.They do make mistakes and follow the wrong trails.Sometimes they need to be picked up and beckoned on.They also see beauty and find joy along traveled paths.The explorer needs a companion for the whole journey.A Companion makes the travel easier and the destination surer, is there in both foul weather and fair. listens much and talks less. uses criticism mildly and infrequently. understands how much downgrading hurts. praises every forward step. has an open ear to two way discussion. has good tongue control when emotion rises. knows that the explorer will find the way. knows that the Teen will reach the goal.


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