A child growth starts from infancy, to a toddler, to a young child, to an adolescent, and finally an adult. Parents are always happy when their children pass through these growth stages. Also, they feel a little bit sad, because it is a reminder that their children can not live with them forever. However, among these growth stages of a child, the most alarming and quite difficult to control is the adolescent stage.
According to the dictionary, adolescent means growing; advancing from childhood to maturity. It can also be said to be in the state of development between puberty and maturity. One even define adolescent as a youth.Speaking about the adolescents, they refer to semi-adults or children moving from their childhood to that of adults. I call them semi-adults because they get to make some decisions on their own, like what to eat, what to wear, what to drink, who to make friends with, where to go, in fact they have insight of who to become.
Children in their teen age are called the adolescents. Due to puberty, they tend to develop some changes in their body, these changes includes growth of hair in their private parts, growth of breasts, mensuration in girls, deep voice and wet dream in boys.When the changes start to appear in their body, at first, it will look strange to them but they will eventually learn to adapt with the changes. Not only changes in their bodies but in their minds and the way they think. They tends to be prone to some emotional feelings especially the girls, mother nature will come visiting with a lot of mixed feelings. Their hormones will be activated and start to alert them of what they are becoming.
However, most parents find it difficult to control their children at this stage of their lives, some parents actually control them but in the wrong way. I have seen parents who restricted their children movements to the extent that they don’t see the sunexcept when they go to school and the children still end up messing up. Parenting children at their adolescence can be difficult to do at times but can be easy as well.
One of the things parents need to do is to make their adolescents realize the stage of life they have entered. Puberty is not a disease, it is meant to happen. Some parents treat their children at this stage as if they have been cursed, like they too never pass through adolescent age.They need to make them know how blessed they are, to be experiencing changes in their bodies.Some children at this stage feel frustrated and ashamed because of these changes, some don’t feel happy especially when their body changes and that of their friends are yet to change. It is the work of the parents to make them know some certain things, like what is happening to them, why they are experiencing the changes and why they must experience it. They can also share with them their adolescent experiences.
You can only share all these with them, when you discuss with them like friends. Parents should create a big space for friendship with their children. Apart from disciplining them when they do something wrong, create time where you laugh, gist, play and have family moments with them. This will make them not to be afraid to approach you. Some parents only make their children to be afraid of them, believing that when they are afraid of them, they won’t misbehave. They don’t know that, they are only creating social distancing between them and their children. Instead of their children to approach them, they would rather tell friends who make them feel at home, about their challenges, and the friends might lead them astray. Parents should know that their best friends must be their children.
Parents are to avoiding being a monitoring spirit. Some parents will just be monitoring their adolescents everywhere, and at every slightest mistake, they will be shouting on them, punishing them, pointing out some changes in them that they think is causing the mistakes, whereas it is just a normal mistake that doesn’t concern their puberty at all. I am not saying you can’t monitor your children, but don’t overdo it. Checking them out like a prey every time is extra monitoring. Stop punishing them at every slight provocation. Make them see that you trust them even when you are having some doubt. Stop antagonizing them by always seeing all their words and decisions to be wrong. Stop attacking them and shutting them up whenever they are expressing themselves.
At this stage of their lives, sex education is very important for them to be taught, not only in school but at home. Even in this contemporary world that we are, children who are not yet adolescents should be taught as well. Some parents are still finding it difficult to teach their children what sex is all about, believing it will corrupt their minds. Their minds are getting corrupted everyday by what they see both virtually and physically, and what they listen to. Even if you restrict them from watching the television, surfing the internet, as long as they move around, going and coming back from school, running errands for you in the street, they can still get to know some things maybe from their friends, their friends phone, their big aunt and uncle phone, from loud speaker coming from a DJ shop and many more. It is better you tell them all about sex and its consequences, before they found out on their own. Both gender should be enlighten well about sex, sexual intercourse, rape, the cause and why they should avoid them.
Just like I have mentioned before, the adolescents will start having emotional feelings, a girl will feel like having sex during her ovulation period, even when she doesn’t know what the feelings mean. The feelings will come strongly on her, and will want her to do some certain things, not only girls but boys too.Naturally females are more emotional than males, so this will occur on girls mostly than boys. Parents must teach their children how to have self control before the feelings control them. Let them know the feelings are normal, but abnormal for them if they adhere to it. Make them see that they have power over their emotions. Though, virginity has lost its honour in this contemporary world that we are, but you can still make your children see reasons for them to keep themselves. Lead them right to say “no to sexual immorality”. Your children can make a different in this world, if you lead them right.
Also, they tend to have crush on their opposite sex at this stage of their life. This is very common among the adolescents; they will start seeing their classmates, church members to be cute or handsome. They will start having butterflies in their stomach whenever they see their crush, some will even be dreaming about his or her crush. Parents are not meant to be shouting “you must not have a boyfriend/girlfriend” “if I see you with any boy/girl I will punish you”. Don’t just give commands and rules; tell them the consequences of developing such feeling at their age. Make them realize how normal it is for them to crush on someone, but how wrong it is to develop the feelings. Tease them about who they are crushing on, you can only get an answer when you have developed a good friendship with them. When you know the person, don’t go and threaten him or her, get update about their movement together from your child. He or she will tell you everything, if you give him or her listening ear. Make sure you continue to advice and direct him or her with care until they are able to overcome the feelings.
At this stage, the adolescents will start showing some characters that will question your parenting on them right from childhood. These characters can be nagging when you give them too much works to do, being stubborn, getting annoyed when you correct them, some don’t even like you touching their belongings or disturbing their privacy. This is not the time for you to be punishing them, if not, they will get use to the punishments and do more worst.Yes, you will punish them, but not all the time. Make them feel guilty of their offense, before punishing them. Remind them of their responsibilities and your responsibilities. Although, they will not want to listen to you or accommodate you at first, but your persistence will make them lose up. Your children can’t be smarter than you, even if they are, be the smartest.
Parents should not also forget to monitor their adolescent’s hygiene. Make them clean their room well, wash their clothes especially their underwear regularly, brush their teeth well, clean up their private part very well, even if they won’t allow you to bath for them anymore, teach them the correct way of bathing themselves. Also, give them good food to eat that will help in their growth. Adolescents mostly eat more at this stage because of the changes they are experiencing. So, you need to give them good food that will help them to grow well. Help them to minimize the consumption of junks. Feed them with fruits and beverages. Don’t complain too much about their food consumption, but train them to eat moderately.
Parenting the adolescents can test your patience and make parenthood difficult for you, but, you can overcome when you don’t give up on them and you make them your best friends. Remember, children are what you make them to be. The future of your children can be either bright or shallow; based on how you train them. Make your children good ones that will impact into the society positively.