The middle school years can be a confusing time for parents and their young teenagers. This period in a child’s life often leads to anxious feelings for both the child and parents. Below are some generally accepted beliefs about “the middle years” in a child’s life that most parents will find helpful:
- Throughout much of adolescence, teenagers struggle with developing their own identity. It’s not uncommon to hear a teenager say, “I am not sure anymore who I am.”
- Young teenagers may often feel awkward or strange about their bodies. Many begin to compare themselves with others. Some may even make comments like, “I am too fat,” or “I wish I was as pretty as that girl.”
- It can be difficult for parents during this time, because teenagers begin to recognize that their parents are not perfect. In fact, some teens begin to challenge their parent authority just for this reason.
- Teens tend to show less affection. Many often become more isolated. Some become rude and moody. Instead of a hug good-bye, you may be lucky to receive just the “bye!”
- A high percentage of teens see a parent’s involvement as interference with their independence. However, be ready for your teen to make a sudden, unexpected appearance in a manner that they have never left.
- Do not rule out childish or immature behavior as a sign asking for help, particularly when the teen is overwhelmed or stressed. Immature behavior is often the result of a stressful day or week.
- Teenagers’ interests are strongly focused on the present. Parents who often encourage their teen to learn or do something for their may be met with bored resistance or an “Oh, mom…”
- Adolescence is the time where sexual development occurs in humans. While there are obvious physical changes, mental growth often becomes stagnant and for a period of time it may appear that very little learning is taking place.
- One major change in the life of a teenager may come in the development of “one’s own sense of morality.” Your young teen may begin to challenge this sense of morality by testing the rules and limits. Abstract thinking may appear in the for of verbal back talk.