The transition from childhood to adolescence and young adulthood can be a difficult one. Your kids will be learning about their place in the world, finding their independence and testing boundaries. As their parent, it is your job to ensure they do this safely and provide them with the skills they need to thrive out in the real world. It is a difficult role to fill, and there will likely be some challenging times ahead for you and your kids.
It is important to be prepared to help your children in the way they need it. You should ensure that you continue to set appropriate boundaries for them and help them understand what you expect of them.
Talk To Them About Their Feelings
Being open about their emotions and what’s going on in their lives is crucial for kids as they grow up. While it is normal and natural for kids to have some secrets from their parents as they navigate adolescence, it is vital that they know you are there for them if they need you. Encourage them to talk about anything bothering them and ensure that you listen and never minimise their feelings.
Foster Positive Body Image
Body image is a touchy subject for children and adolescents. Their bodies are changing, often quickly, and combined with rising hormone levels this can give rise to insecurity. This is not aided by social media, which can compound feelings of body shame or inadequacy. It is essential to avoid using body-shaming language around your children, even if directed at yourself. Children can pick up on these messages regardless of intent or direction and internalise them. Good body image can be crucial to your kids’ mental health.
Allow Them Greater Independence
Getting more independence is an important part of growing up. While it can be hard to watch your kids go out to places and meet friends without adult supervision, it is crucial to their development and confidence that they can do so. You should ensure they have all the tools they need to be safe out in the world. Ensure they know that they can call you if they need help and teach them about keeping their money and possessions safe.
You could also start allowing them to choose and make their own school lunches and teaching them to cook and clean. These are crucial skills they will need to live on their own after they move out as adults, and it is a good idea to help them learn early.
Let Them Expand Their Social Circles
As your kids get older, they will need to build up their support system outside of the home. It can help to allow them to join new sports teams, clubs and other activities that will enable them to meet people from all walks of life. The more your kids learn to socialise and the younger they are while they do so, the more confident they will be as they grow. It is important not to force socialising on kids and adolescents but allow them to do so when they choose.
Get Them Their Own Phone Plan
Having a mobile phone is an essential step for kids as they grow up. It allows them even more independence and can help teach them about being responsible for their own belongings. Before getting your kids a phone, ensure you sit them down to discuss how they should use it and explain how to be safe with it. It may help to turn on parental filters for younger children for their internet use.
You should get them a plan that allows them to contact you if they need it. It may be best to start them off on a budget phone until you are sure they can be responsible with it. You can find some excellent SIM-only plans that will ensure they can use their phone when they need it. You can learn more here about some of the excellent Lebara SIM-only plans.
Help Them Get A Part-Time Job
Getting a part-time job is a big milestone in many young peoples’ lives. It is another way to deepen independence and allow children money of their own to use. You could talk to your kids about where they could find a part-time job and consider asking around with friends and family to see if anyone knows of any jobs that could be suitable. Ensuring that your kids are old enough and mature enough to handle a part-time job is vital.
Educate Them About Money
You should start teaching kids about money at an early age. Pocket money is a good way to start. Once your kids have their first part-time jobs, you can teach them about how taxes and National Insurance works. You should also teach them about being careful with their money, avoiding overspending and giving them tips on how to save.
Teach Them To Advocate For Themselves
It is crucial for kids to be able to advocate for themselves. More and more, as they get older, they will not have you there to help them navigate difficult situations. They will need to communicate their wants and needs effectively to succeed in various tasks in the adult world like work. Teach them that they are allowed to say no to things they don’t want to do, and their opinions and decisions are valid and their own.
Being a parent to a pre-teen or teenager can have many challenges for you and them. Often you will need to remind yourself to have patience, though it can be difficult. Do your best to avoid talking to your kids in anger and instead strive to have measured, thoughtful conversations with them. Even when you face teenage rebellion and tempers, you should ensure that you remain in control and resolve the issue when everyone has calmed down.
It is likely that they and you will make mistakes along the road, but you should ensure that you learn from them. When your kids mess up, it is important to teach them about consequences while also being there for them when they need you.
Talking is key – a listening ear always helps too