Oct 2, 2009

Not surprisingly, the bottom line issues for parents are very different than the bottom line issues for the teen.

For the parents, the bottom line issues look something like this:

They see the kid they raised from an infant changing right before their eyes, usually getting more and more out of control. Their concerns can run through a whole range of problems - from slipping grades, bad attitudes and little or no communication all the way to depression, running away or drugs.

The bottom line is that the parents are scared, and they want their nice kid back.

Raising teenagers can be like a day at an amusement park, lots of fun but also full of ups and downs, moments with floors dropping out, twisters, laughs, screams and all. But just as you plan your amusement park agenda, mapping out a basic plan, you can do the same with many top teen issues for the most positive experience possible.

Self-Esteem & Fitting In

The teenage years are a time of internal and external growth, where teens face mixed emotions daily and bodily growth differently in nearly each individual. And a major concern among teenagers is their self-esteem; i.e. focusing on how much they feel accepted, valued and loved by others in light of all this transitional phase in their lives.

You can help by encouraging them to find things they are good at; different subjects in school, sports and other after school activities (chess, crafts, photography, etc.) Offer plenty of praise and go light on the criticism. And help them find plenty of helpful resources along the way; library books, school counselors, coaches, mentors, tutors, etc. Have your teen invite friends over often so you can meet them, too, and leave them to their game / tv room with plenty of snacks and music.

Growth (External / Internal) & Sex

Help your teens value their own appearance by offering compliments and praise for clothing choices, even if it’s simply in a t-shirts color choice. They want to experiment and wear clothing like their piers and like some adults, but do guide them in ethical and moral choices, leaving abusive language phrases off shirts, and making sure private body parts are covered.

As sexual maturity comes into play, also reflected in clothing style choices, make sure to acknowledge this stage and not run from it, especially with seductive clothing and late night outings. Take charge and remind your teen that while it’s great to want to be attractive, sex can and most often does lead to parenting and that’s a very serious issue. Make sure your teens understand your opinion on this area. And if you don’t have one yet, it may be time to get involved and take a stance. Life, lives could be at stake. So don’t leave this topic left hanging because you are uncomfortable. You may be much more uncomfortable if you do nothing.

Keep in mind, there are plenty more teenage issues for parents to deal with, some easy and some not so easy.

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