Puberty can be a challenging time for your child as well as your entire family. As your child navigates their way through this new change in their life they can be emotional, and experience physical changes, as well as hormone influences.
Puberty can be a challenging time for your child as well as your entire family. As your child navigates their way through this new change in their life they can be emotional, and experience physical changes, as well as hormone influences. As a supportive parent, there are three basic ways you can help your child transition through puberty:
Long before puberty hits you should begin establishing an avenue of open communication between yourself and your child. Communication and trust are probably the two most important factors in creating a positive ongoing relationship with your child. If you begin when your child is young establishing that you are there for them and willing to talk to them about anything, they will come to trust and rely on this support system you have created. This line of communication will make it much easier for your child to come to you with simple questions as well as hard ones as they experience changes.
Prepare them before it starts
Don’t wait until puberty is rearing its ugly head to begin talking to them about it. As soon as you feel your child is mentally and intellectually able to handle the conversations you should begin talking to them about puberty. Explain what it is, what changes they can expect to happen, and then you can discuss ways they can deal with changes as they occur. This is also a great opportunity for you to open up and tell them some of your experiences that fit the situation. Then, you can help your child begin to create a plan to deal with changes and emotions they might have. For instance, some children going through puberty could experience uncontrollable emotional upsets; together you can plan for productive ways for your child to deal with these by establishing a safe place or even a key word they can use with you to express themselves. Preparation before puberty can’t change the fact that puberty will happen, but can help both you and your child prepare to have the best outcome possible.
Be consistent and encourage self-esteem
Finally, the most important thing you need to do when your child is experiencing puberty is to help them realize their continued self worth and value. They need to know that no matter what they experience or what changes they go through, they will always have value as your child, and you will always love them. Learn when dealing with a child facing puberty to not "sweat the small stuff". Both you and your child should understand that puberty does not come without its challenges. There will most likely be times that you disagree or find there are reasons for conflict. The important thing is to help them understand that even through these conflicts you will always love them and value them as an individual. This helps to build their self-worth and will allow them to find their path through the challenges of puberty.
Puberty is a challenge for every parent and child that goes through it, but with proper preparation, open lines of communication, trust, and love you can help your child thrive as they make the transition from child to adolescent. Learn to embrace the great assets your child has and help them use those to find their own unique identity through puberty.
A. Lynn Scoresby, founder and president of My Family Track , First Answers , and Achievement Synchrony , and has been a marriage and family psychologist for more than 35 years. He has published more than 20 books and training programs.