Mom Tip Monday: Encouragement Part 3

by Heligirl on January 31, 2011

in Mom Tip Monday,Parenting Articles

The last two weeks I’ve been running a three-part series on encouraging our kids, using techniques aimed at their specific developmental stages. I started by talking about how to encourage children from birth to 6 then went on the last week to discuss specific child development and encouragement techniques for kids from 6 to 12 years old.

This week I’m completing the conversation with some insights into the psychological development of adolescents as well as how to encourage kids as they learn their way through their adolescence.

Encouragement for Adolescents

The most important task for adolescents is to further define their self-identities.

Task #1: To obtain final independence.

Task #2: To learn to relate to the opposite gender.

Task #3: To prepare for his/her life work.

Task #4: To begin to sort out her/his philosophy of life.

Task #5: To develop conscience; by late adolescence most teens can do this without outside support.

Ways to provide encouragement:

  • Respect their privacy in both space and thoughts. Avoid “20 questions” when they come home, for instance.
  • Provide a comfortable home and make it accessible to friends. Encourage teens to help with chores, so they take some ownership of the home.
  • Keep supervision unobtrusive and support their participation in healthy group activities.
  • Respect their need to grow away from you.
  • Respect their sensitivity about their changing shape and feelings.
  • Keep a sense of humor.
  • Don’t take it personally that your advice isn’t considered “expert” any longer.
  • Remember, “mistakes are for learning.” It’s the end result you are aiming for.
  • Continue to be open and talk with your adolescent about bodily changes, drugs, alcohol and sex.
  • Talk to your younger children about the changes in adolescence to help their understanding of what their sibling is experiencing.
  • Use your listening skills. Adolescents need a “nonjudgmental ear” to explore many feelings, values and ideas.
  • Give a generous dose of positive strokes, both hugs and words.
  • Provide safe experiences for them as much as possible.

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