The Adolescent Years

Nothing can fully prepare someone for becoming a parent. The responsibility, early morning feedings and tasks involved in being a parent can be daunting and overwhelming. So, too, is adolescence.

Adolescence marks a transition in a child’s life from depending solely on the parents to becoming more individualistic and peer-driven. While this may be a difficult time for Mom and Dad, all parents should want their child’s transition to be as seamless as possible.

The following are key issues that family’s can work on to forge a solid bond that extends from infancy, to adolescence and well into adulthood.

  1. Parents should always provide a safe environment and evoke the reassurance of unconditional love.
  2. Create an atmosphere that revolves around mutual trust, honesty and respect.
  3. Parents should establish age appropriate limits on assertiveness and independence. Too little or too much independence can damage a child.
  4. Forge a close-knit bond that encourages a child to talk openly with the parents, while still maintaining a parent relationship (vs. a parent being a peer or friend).
  5. Children need to learn responsibility.
  6. The importance of establishing and accepting limits.
  7. The consequence of impulsiveness and not thinking about his/her actions.

Having this strong, cohesive foundation built between parents and children, helps make the transition into adolescence smoother. Having a relationship between parent and child where honesty is of utmost importance forges a sturdy bond.

If a parent and child experience adolescent tension, it may be appropriate to seek family counseling in Utah. Therapists in Provo can help parents and adolescents communicate more effectively. Therapists also provide valuable insight into why a child is experiencing a difficult time during this teenage transition. Family counseling in Provo may focus on tasks for the parents and/or children; including helping establish the aforementioned key bonding tasks. A therapist can reassure parents if a teen’s behavior is acting within the normal guidelines of an adolescent seeking independence, or if the exhibited behavior is cause for alarm.

Concerning behaviors should be addressed immediately with a counselor and include: alcohol and drug abuse (not experimentation but an abusive addiction), steady academic decline, social isolation, repeated truancy, negative self-esteem issues, repeatedly deifying parental authority, suicidal or physically threatening to others. Rest assured that licensed therapists specialize in focusing on these areas and are readily available to assist families.

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