Eight Steps to Making a Seamless Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood
Some people believe that adolescence is a difficult time in a child's development. But, this is not necessarily true. Many teenagers pass through their adolescent years smoothly and victoriously, passing into adulthood relatively unscathed. Still, there are many steps you can take to help your teenager and yourself make a seamless transition. The eight steps that follow are some of the most helpful:
- Keep communication lines open. Listen when your child talks and try to understand his/her position. Be supportive rather than critical. When it's your turn to talk, be assertive, but don't lecture.
- Maintain a good relationship. Chances are, your child will choose to obey you more often than not if the two of you have a good relationship based on mutual trust and respect.
- Avoid treating your adolescent as if he/she were a young child. Give him/her the respect your child needs to learn how to make their own decisions and form their own opinions. Allow them to make mistakes. Adjust their role in the family so that it is more appropriate to their changing needs. Making them dependent upon you will not help them.
- Give them space. Try not to smother him/her or force them to do everything the family does. Independence is necessary to your child's development. Be understanding.
- Honor and respect your child's uniqueness. Encourage him/her to be themselves. Accept their differences. Time spent trying to make your child a model child will only end in frustration and resentment.
- Be a strong leader, not just a good parent. Be positive. Express confidence in your child's abilities. Teach values. Set a good example. Conduct your life the way you would like to see your child conduct theirs. Be careful not to say, "Do as I say, not as I do." Kids will remember what you did more than what you said. Remember that being a parent is hard work. Effective parenting requires self-control and responsible behavior on your part, whether you are parenting an infant, child or adolescent.
- No matter what happens, a sense of humor can help! Be willing to laugh at yourself. Laugh along with your child. Have fun. Kids love it when adults lighten up!
- Whenever you would like to see an improvement in your child's attitude or behavior, take a look at your own first. You may be the one who needs to make an adjustment. Your child might be following in your footsteps.