Are you feeling blindsided by the sudden change in your family’s dynamics?
Having a teenager at home can disrupt your family’s carefully balanced relationships.
This process can often come with challenges. Puberty can cause sudden changes in behavior and temperament.
I have two teenagers at home, and my family has experienced most of these issues first hand. This article will help you navigate these problems while keeping your strong relationship with your kids.
How will life change when my child hits puberty? Is it a sudden thing?
Physical changes are gradual, but it may seem that the emotional changes happen all at once. One minute, your child is his or her usual agreeable self and the next, he or she is snarling and slamming doors.
This piece from the New York Times describes how teenagers change.
Your teen’s sleep patterns may change, leading to groggy days and sleepless nights. He or she will almost certainly eat more and cause a dent in the family’s grocery budget.
The changes associated with puberty aren’t all bad. It’s fascinating to be with your child as he or she goes through such a transformation. Watching him or her develop skills and opinions is rewarding.
Are all the horror stories true?
That depends on what you consider a horror story. Teens naturally express their feelings differently than younger children. They are beginning to see themselves as people independent from the family, and any difference of opinion can be strong.
They are also not especially tactful when giving criticism, especially where their parents are concerned. It’s jarring to hear your “baby” calling out your every mistake in life.
They naturally test your limits. This is, in my opinion, the hardest part of parenting a teenager. They question everything and sometimes outright refuse to follow the simplest request if they don’t feel it is fair.
A teenager’s attitude that they aren’t subject to the family’s rules can cause them to get into unsafe situations.
Keep the lines of communication open in your family so that your child knows you will always come and get them if, for example, they have gone to a party where people are drinking or using drugs.
How will my teenager relate to other people in the family?
His or her relationships with parents and siblings will change. If a teen is responsible for caring for younger siblings, they may become critical and resentful. Short tempers may cause hurt feelings.
A teen who has been close to a sibling may believe that they have little in common as they grow up. This is usually temporary. They may also fight with their siblings more and feel confined by the family.
Teenagers may be likely to withdraw from their parents and siblings and focus entirely on their friends. This is a developmental issue common to all teens, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.
Allow them plenty of time to spend with his or her friends, but keep tabs on which friends are good influences and which ones are not.
Are there any resources I can use to help me today?
Watch this video for teens’ perspective on family changes.
Having a teenager in the house doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Understanding the causes of relationship challenges goes a long way toward making them manageable for your family.
Your teen isn’t purposely setting out to destroy your family life, even if it feels that way sometimes. Allow your child some room to make his or her own mistakes while being a secure base to return to.
Please comment below if you have any questions, and share what has worked for your family.