Surviving Your Teenager

The way to approach this phenomenon is to understand that adolescence is not one stage, but three. The first is called early(12-14), the next is mid(14-17), and the last stage is called late(17-20).

The first stage is marked by a need to individualize, identify with peers, and a certain amount of rebellion. The second stage is characterized by more involvement with the opposite sex, experimenting with alcohol and drugs, more autonomy, and a need to show parents they can’t quite control them.  The last stage, if they have developed a reasonable maturity is where they begin to look down the road and think about where they would like their life to take them.

The way to attend to your adolescent is to always realize you are the legitimate enforcer and they know it. Then negotiate around freedoms and responsibilities to earn that freedom. This is coupled with good boundaries and appropriate and consistent rewards and consequences. When set up during the peaceful times you are more likely to get compliance and cooperation.

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