By becoming aware of the developmental stages and traits of teens, parents will be able to support their teen in exploring new ideas, helping them accomplish their goals and weathering the storm when things just don’t go as planned.

It is important to define two words to describe this developmental stage: puberty and adolescence. Puberty is a time when children undergo drastic changes sexually, physically, emotionally and socially. These changes occur at different time for each individual. Teens will wonder if what they are experiencing is normal and how they compares with their peers. Self esteem is directly related to their body image and the acceptance of their peers. Because of fluctuation of hormones teens may feel overwhelmed and stressed over the intense emotions that they are experiencing.

Adolescence occurs when teens start expressing their own separate views, opinions, morals and ambitions. To develop their own identity, teens will try on various lifestyles and personalities including new hairstyles and clothing. Teens may jump from one social peer group to another in order to see what feels most comfortable. Strong friendships develop with an intense loyalty to the group that they identify with. A lot of energy and time is spent on developing romantic relationships and understanding and controlling sexual feelings.

On top of all of the physical changes that teens experience and the pressure to fit in, teens are also feeling the pressure to do well in school, work a part time job and participate in extracurricular activities.

While developing their own independence teens expect to be treated like an adult. But, they may not always equate being treated like an adult and accepting the responsibility that comes along with it. This can be very frustrating for both the parent and the teen. Parents will find at times their teen to be lacking in attention, risk taking and low motivation. All of these traits to a certain degree are normal part of being an adolescent since the brain continues to develop into early adulthood. The best thing that parents can do is remind the teen of the consequences of their actions and give them the freedom to make their own choices and to accept responsibility. This may require the parent to change their parenting styles. No longer can they treating the teen as a young child but as a youth who can make be trusted to make some decisions for themselves.

So what should a parent do to help their teen go through this period of their life with success? Establish a loving relationship with open communication with your child before they reach adolescence. When times get tough, the teen will know who to turn to for support and unconditional love and acceptance.