We all remember our teenage years well. It’s a time of great change- and we all experienced the awkwardness, confusion and feelings of being misunderstood which of course come with the territory of adolescence. You’re repeatedly told that you’re no longer a child and should act grown up, but you have no life experience and no grown up privileges so it can be a time of great frustration for many. And not only is life as a teen difficult, but it’s even trickier when you then become the parent of one. Kids are only little for so long, before you know it your sweet baby has turned into a stroppy teenager and it can be a transitional time in parenthood too. Here are a few things to watch out for when you’re raising a teenager.
Back when we grew up, the technology that’s around today simply didn't exist. None of us walked around with mobile phones, we didn’t have computers at home and things like ipads were years from ever being dreamed up. The problem with technology is two- fold, the first is the amount of time teens spend on these devices. Instead of being active, playing sports and out with their friends, they’re sat sedentary on devices. The second is their safety. Thinking about the kind of people that try and speak to children and teens online is every parent’s nightmare, we also don’t want them to be exposed to things they shouldn’t see online. Set teen control options on your wifi as well as on their data plan. Educate them of the dangers of chatting to people they don’t know, and really make sure it’s clear that they should never be meeting anyone they don’t know from the internet. Some social media sites do allow younger teens to sign up, Instagram and Snapchat for example has a minimum age of thirteen. Just make sure that when they sign up, they put in their real date of birth which will automatically block content that’s not safe for them to see.
Keep an eye on their health
Coming back to technology, these devices have caused teens to become more sedentary which in turn can lead to weight gain and low physical fitness levels. At this age, their interests will be changing so a sport or activity they once loved might no longer grab their attention. If this is the case, don’t force them to do something they hate. Instead, find activities they do enjoy. It could be anything from trampolining to swimming, if it’s something they enjoy they’re far likely to stick with it. Another thing to be wary of with teens is restricting, being conscious of their appearance and pressures from the media and peers can lead to extreme dieting. They’re also at an age where they’re more likely to be trying drugs and alcohol, so watch out for the signs. Unfortunately, there are many who are completely addicted by the time they reach their late teen years and so it’s something to nip in the bud. If you’ve recently discovered that they’re using drugs or alcohol heavily, an ANA Treatment Centre can tailor a program to get them back on track.