Keonna Freeman, MS, CFLE    
FreeLee Foundation

Parenting your Adolescent through physical and psychological changes.


"Adolescence is a period of metamorphosis in an individual's life that involves dramatic changes in body proportions and physical size, sexual maturation, and personality shifts" (Bigner and Gerhardt, 2019, p. 224).

Aspects to consider: 
-The family system 
- The family process
-Parent-Child connectedness/Communication

Talking to your child is important.  Especially, through their adolescent stage.  This is the stage where maturation begins, sexual curiosities surface and experimentation is high.  Choosing a good time to talk and set up an "open-door policy" is a good start for communication. Studies reveal that family meals play a positive role in ensuring parent-child connectedness, or parent-child communication. 

During the time of communication, your adolescent child should feel safe and comfortable with talking about the many feelings that arise at this stage. Speaking with your child, and maintaining a "judgment-free" zone can have a positive effect on their mental health and self-efficacy. This is considered positive parenting.  Positive parenting is a key term that both mothers and fathers should focus on during communication because a great deal of understanding will be required.  Research shows that positive parenting from fathers is a mediating factor of self-efficacy and mental health in adolescence.  Whereas, positive parenting from mothers is a mediating factor of self-efficacy and mental health in young adults (the stage that your child will move on to after their adolescence). 

Finally, recognizing your adolescent as an individual with their own personal goals and values is ideal to help build them up and get them to their independence. While family values are important, pulling away from collectivist values will help you as a parent to understand your adolescent if he or she decides, for example, that the religion you practice doesn't align with their beliefs and they may be interested in exploring other religions or no religion at all.  This doesn't change who they are to you, rather it gives them gratification and confirmation of self. Individualism can help with family cohesion so that the family system isn't compromised. 


References

Brown, S. L., Teufel, J., Birch, D. A., & Abrams, T. E. (2019). Family meals and adolescent perceptions of parent-child connectedness. Journal of Family Studies, 25(1), 34-45. 10.1080/13229400.2016.1200115

Prioste, A., Narciso, I., Gonçalves, M. M., & Pereira, C. R. (2017). Values' family flow: associations between grandparents, parents and adolescent children. Journal of Family Studies, 23(1), 98-117. 10.1080/13229400.2016.1187659

Tabak, I., & Zawadzka, D. (2017). The importance of positive parenting in predicting adolescent mental health. Journal of Family Studies, 23(1), 1-18. 10.1080/13229400.2016.1240098