If you thought raising a new born was bad, you're about to lose a lot more sleep than you ever did then worrying about your newly blossoming teenager.

 

Teenagers are on the cusp of adulthood (in their minds) and yet are still children (in your mind), so pinpointing exactly what a teenager needs in each stage of his or her teenhood is essential.

 

Teens might by mystifying, seemingly lost in their world of Snapchat, discos and video games, but there are ways of being there for them as a parent without embarrassing them too much (as they keep insisting you're doing). 

 

11-12

 

 

Kids this age are, for the most part, thankfully still kids, but you're probably going to notice a few changes as puberty kicks in.

 

Most notably, their organisational awareness is probably off kilter, so forgetting their PE kit and (conveniently) forgetting that you asked them to clean their rooms will be at its peak. 

 

Help your little one to establish an organised routine by doing things regularly, like always putting the uniform in the wash Friday evening and always putting the gear bag in the hallway cupboard.

 

This will help them become better organised and hopefully they will begin to adopt the routine independently. Setting reminders and tasks on their phones (if they have one) is also a good idea. 

 

13-14

 

 

Hold onto your hats folks, you have entered the dramatic teenage phase.

 

Tensions and emotions run high at 13 and 14, so expect tears when you accidentally shrink their favourite top and tantrums when they're not allowed out with friends if they don't finish their chores.

 

Younger teens become more sensitive and highly susceptible to the opinion of peers, and aren't equip with the life experience to react appropriately to them. 

 

At this time, it is vital for parents to step in and coach teens on how to establish meaningful friendships with their peers, based on shared interests not popularity or materialistic things. 

 

15-16

 

 

The teenage horrors should usually have descended upon your household at this time, and eye rolling, monosyllabic answers and suspicious internet activity become the name of the game.

 

Teens aged 15 and 16 are at peak risk taking age, as their brains are actively promoting thrill seeking behaviours. 

 

Reinforcing their friendships is important, as kids with a good, grounded core group of friends are more likely to do what their friends do and avoid bold behaviour if their mates aren't doing it too. 

 

It's also at this stage that parents should be extra vigilant of cyber bullying and online predators, as teens become more and more obsessed with social media.

 

Parents need to talk to their kids about what is and isn't appropriate to post, how to keep their details private and why they should never ever meet someone from the internet that they don't know.  

 

17-18

 

 

Phew, you're almost out of the woods!

 

At this stage, most teens are completing their final school exams, and making big choices about what they want to do with their lives.

 

It's vital that parents remain a constant positive force in a teenagers life at this point, and encourage their teen to make the choices that will serve them best in later life.

 

That being said, forcing a child who clearly has a much better love and propensity for nursing into an engineering degree, or shoving your teen into modelling when marine biology is their calling, is never okay.

 

Choices should be realistic, for some teens that means medical school, and for others that means hairdressing. Teens should be free to choose what they want to do in college and for the duration of their working lives.  

 

During all stages, your teenager will appreciate (eventually) well guided discipline and a listening ear.

 

Because even when they're screaming that they hate you because you confiscated their iPhone, that will simply never be true. 

 

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