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Making it Through Your Child’s Teenage Years

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girl-311628_640You thought once you made it out of the Terrible Twos you were scot-free, but then pre-teen years set in, and pretty soon, you had yourself a full-fledged teenager. Many parents find their child’s teenage years rife with disagreements, new stresses, and a brand new set of worries. If you’ve got a child who’s become a big, bad teenager, use these tips to help you navigate what can be some of their most trying years. It’s not easy being a teen, and it’s not always easy to parent one. Keep these strategies in mind and you and your child will make it through these years unscathed.

Personal Appearance Issues

When our kids go through puberty, social anxieties about their appearance become much more pronounced. Talking early and often with your child about self-confidence and worth will help them get through the times of self-doubt and help them bolster their self-esteem. For many teens, skin conditions take top billing when it comes to appearance concerns, namely, that of acne. Not only can it be embarrassing for your child; it can also become rather painful if left untreated, and leave permanent scars. It’s important to find an effective acne treatment for teens that targets the skin conditions adolescents normally contend with, instead of grabbing just your run-of-the-mill face wash. When it comes to other personal appearance issues, like clothing and hairstyle, be sure you’re not forcing your own ideas onto your child. Teenage years are filled with a desire to achieve the right self-expression, and forcing a certain style of dress onto your child will only see them more resistant as they feel stifled. Allowing them to dress as they wish doesn’t mean giving up expectations; they can wear that all-black ensemble and still uphold the values you’ve instilled in them.

Be Wary of Cyberspace

Children these days are well-versed in the Internet, and tend to be more knowledgeable of the social media channels and opportunities awaiting them on the World Wide Web. This can be a cause of great concern and fear for worried parents, and that worry is not misplaced. It seems every day we hear a new story of cyberbullying or a meetup gone awry. When they’re young, it’s easy to use an online safety software program like NetNanny to protect them, but this gets harder as they get older and likely have their own phone. It’s important to talk openly and honestly with your child about their online habits, and to ensure that they’re not posting any type of personal detail on their social media profiles. Sit with them and make sure privacy settings are being used, and warn them of the potential consequences of posting photos and videos that may jeopardize their safety or reputation. Ask them to be honest with you about any friend requests from individuals they don’t know, and encourage them to approach you if any type of bullying is occurring on their social media channels. The more open you are, the more open they’ll tend to be, and this can help ensure their safety online.

Have the Hard Conversations

In their teenage years, your child will likely feel the urge to experiment. One way to combat this urge is to talk honestly and openly about the hardest of topics. When it comes to sex and drugs, it’s important to breach the subject before your child is actually exposed to it. As much as you don’t want to have the conversation, doing so makes it more likely for your child to act responsibly when faced with the option to try something you’d prefer they didn’t. Get to know your kids’ friends and meet their parents if possible. Knowing who your child spends their time with will allow you to approach the right conversations and help keep track of what they’re doing.

Look Out for Warning Signs

Your child will likely go through a multitude of changes as they navigate their teenage years, and this self-exploration is normal and healthy. However, there are warning signs to be on the lookout for that could indicate serious problems or issues. If your child loses or gains an extreme amount of weight, experiences problems sleeping, suddenly changes who they’re hanging out with, or sees their grades taking a nosedive, there may be something more serious at hand. While you’ll likely see changes in behavior, anything that lasts longer than six weeks is a cause for concern.

Making it through teenagehood is tough, and as a parent, it’s important to do everything you can to make it easier for your child to protect them and your relationship with them. Keep these tips in mind as your child gets older and make it through this tough period with ease.

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