Some people have stated that adolescence is like “the two’s” all over again.  Well, just like two years olds, preteens and teenagers are seeking ways to become independent from their parents and through this new emotions and feelings emerge.  The decisions our teens make during these few years have a direct effect on the rest of their life.  So, as parents the best thing we can do for our teens is to give them the guidance they need to make choices which can give them the most out of life. 

Physical Changes:

  • When boys are the first among their peers to go through the physical changes of puberty it is a confidence builder.  Girls, however, can be overwhelmed by being one of first to get their period or wear a bra (due to the amount of teasing she is likely to experience).  Late development is difficult for both sexes because teens rate themselves in relations to their peers.  Late bloomers often feel more insecure.
  • Hormone changes can cause mood swings, especially in girls.  Expect emotional reactions and outburst of tears.
  • Few teenagers feel confident about their physical appearance.  Although sincere compliments from parents are rarely received well, they do build self-esteem.

Coping with Stress:

  • Teens(like us) need space and privacy, especially if they are stressed.  Allow them time to unwind they will be more receptive when you need to talk.
  • Talk with your teen when a “crisis” is over.  Ask how important (blank) will be in a week, in a year.
  • Encourage your teen to be proud of trying their best, regardless of the results.  Demonstrate this is your own life.
  • When a project or homework gets frustrating, suggest that your teen put it aside for awhile and do something that is completely different (reading, baking, a hobby, etc)


  • It is possible for your teen to be dating without you realizing it.  Many “dates” are simply rearrangements to meet at the mall or movie theater.  The friends your teen leaves with may not be who he/she spend the evening with.  They can be “going out” with someone while they are just “hanging-out” with friends.
  • Some families have set rules concerning ages for dating and curfews.  Other families make decisions based on individual situations (proms, dances) and take into consideration the maturity of their teen.
  • Teens who do not have a desire to date can find themselves feeling left out and lonely.  Hanging out with old friends may no longer feel comfortable if their time together is spent “scoping out” the opposite sex.  Sports, your groups, school clubs, or a job can help fill this social void.


Most parents think it’s great for their teens to have a job, be responsible, and ear spending money.  But there is another side if the coin according to some of the mother we spoke to:

  • What kind of peers will be working with your teen?  If your teen works with peers who don’t value a college educations, that goal could become less important.
  • Will your teen regret not being involved in more extra curricular activities?  Remember, your teen will be working for the rest of his/her life.
  • Will your teen be able to spend his/her money any way he chooses?  Decide ahead of time with your teen if he/she is to be responsible for his own clothing, car insurance, and/or savings account.

Encouragement: A publication by Angela DiCicco and Gail Signor

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