Life with a teenager is no easy feat. They’re prone to mood swings, take unnecessary risks and can be difficult to communicate with. It can be hard to figure out how to navigate raising a teen, as simply nurturing them with food and shelter doesn’t exactly cut it anymore. If you’re the parent of a teenager and need some guidance, you’ve come to the right place.
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, new research is shedding light on what exactly adolescents need, and this new information can help provide parents with some semblance of understanding when it comes to figuring out how young minds work.
Here are some of the key things teens need most from their parents, according to science.
1. Organizational Skills
If your young teenager seems spacey, messy or disorganized, it’s likely because the areas of the brain associated with spatial learning actually decline at this time. Their memory is also still maturing, so they likely forget where they put important things or don’t remember what time their soccer practice is.
Helping your teen with organizational skills is important at this time, especially when it comes to building memory cues into their daily routine.
2. Decision-Making Skills
Teaching your child how to make good decisions is also important during the teenage years. It takes time to cultivate these skills, but you can raise a good decision-maker by having your kid think about the pros and cons of different choices, and talking to them about consequences that can come from each option as well as how their decisions affect other people.
Children who know by age 10 or 11 how to make sound decisions tend to exhibit less anxiety and sadness, get in fewer fights and have fewer problems with friends, according to research.
3. Warmth And Affection
Your child might be a pain in the butt to you during their teenage years, but showing them warmth and affection is still important, even when they make you angry. Research shows that teens who had mothers who were warm, affectionate and approving during disagreements showed brain changes linked to lower rates of sadness and anxiety and greater self-control than in teens who had mothers who became angry and argumentative.
4. Stress Management Tools
In the later teen years, emotions are running high, and responses to stress go haywire. Many teens experience a lot of social stress, and learning how to deal with these emotions is crucial. Coping strategies learned at this age can become ingrained in the brain for the years to follow, so it’s important to teach your teen healthy ways to deal with stress, such as meditation, running or listening to music.
5. Companionship And Emotional Support
It may not seem like your teen is interested much in your company, but teenagers with family support are better off. Research show that teens whose families provide companionship, problem-solving and emotional support are less likely to become depressed after exposure to severe stress.
6. Advice, Without Yelling
Sometimes your child just needs some guidance, but screaming, yelling and harsh discipline aren’t always the most productive ways to achieve that.
Becoming close with your teens, respecting them and talking through their problems without arguing and yelling can actually help limit the amount of risk-taking behaviors your teenager engages in when you’re not around.
There’s no one perfect way to raise a teen, but knowing what’s important for their development can help parents to raise a child who grows into a well-adjusted young adult.