As a parent of a teenager, you thought the time of ups and downs was over when your child left teeter-totters behind. Surprise — they are back.
Being a teen is a time of ups and downs on a daily basis. Sometimes your teen’s thoughts are lofty ideas and other times you feel as if all he thinks about is a Friday night party.
Expect your teenager to experience ups and downs of self-esteem during these, the “turbulent teens,” and for it to increase as he gets older.
Don’t compare him with other young people.
Let him know that you are proud of and excited by his talents, capabilities and discoveries.
Support him as he struggles with issues and questions of who he is and where he is going.
Let him know that you are willing to listen if he wants to talk about his sense of purpose in life, including his ideas about how he would like to contribute to the world.
At times he may act like he doesn’t have a worry. He does. Every age group has worries. At this age, he worries about friends, body image, money, family, school and even more. He worries about you; do you think he is doing well? He needs to hear that as we all like to hear good things about ourselves. Even at this age, he is continuing to work on his self-esteem. The chances are it isn’t where he or you would like it to be. Hearing those kinds of things help him want to do more. It all adds to his ups.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher program and now director of Parenting Matters Foundation. The foundation publishes newsletters for parents, caregivers, and grandparents. Reach Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 681-2250.