The key factors to raising well adjusted teenagers

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Teenage hood is considered the difficult period in raising a child by parents mostly because at this stage they develop a sense of independence and try to break away from their parents' control.

KenyaKidz talked to Jason McEvoy Edwards, a psychotherapist who specialises in teenagers, to understand the key factors that see parents 'getting it right' in bringing up healthy well adjusted teenagers:


1. What are the key factors that see parents 'getting it right' in bringing up healthy well adjusted teenagers?

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Guidance through quality time with your child(ren), tolerance or patience, objective reflection, giving informed choices, consistency and a sense of open reassurance and believe that they will find their own (right) path. Teenagers live by experience, therefore as adults we are well placed to inform them of 'possibilities' regarding life's successes and disappointments.

2. How can a parent boost their child's self esteem?

Encouraging their active participation in things they do well and enjoy, Praise and gentle encouragement when you recognise an achievement, Reassuring them that they might not always be as successful as they envisaged at any given time BUT they have the capacity if they try, understanding what their personal gaps are and guiding them to activities, practices or exercises they may fulfil these areas.

3. What are the ways a parent can identify a troubled teenager?

A change in personal behaviour, attitude, social routines or their environment. The most direct and productive way, talk with your child. If you already have a culture of family interaction based on healthy every day enquiry and brief discussion, identifying a potential issue is already half solved.

4. How can parents help build their children's talents?

Appropriately giving up your time to support their talents or investing in their interests, positive and encouraging dialogue regarding your observations of how they are achieving and guiding them towards realistic goals

5. Is there a way a parent can repair a damage relationship with their teenager?

There is always a way if you have tolerance & openness to admit (your) mistake, a parent's love should be unconditional - you'll always be there when they are ready should be your mantra and something that needs to be heard (transparency)and above all, being open, available and willing to listen and prove that you have actually understood (a) your possible responsibility in the damage (b) what a compromise might look like and (c) we can agree to disagree. Time (and personal reflection) can always work towards a healing process but also understanding when to intervene; checking or sounding out whether personal views or a perception has changed.

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