For All Single Parents - How to Survive Your Adolescents

Every stage of life carries with it certain tasks of emotional development and adolescence is no exception. Adolescence is a major developmental bridge lasting from ages 10 and 20 and can be an extremely stressful time especially for a single parent. During this developmental period, adolescents have the following tasks to accomplish: establish their own identity; give up childhood dependency; develop their own values; deal constructively with authority; learn to deal with the opposite sex; and, handle their rampant physical and emotional changes. All this, while on the surface, rejecting their parent.

Recent research, however, indicates that teenagers learn to simulate the parent's values more than they do their friends. Although this may be surprising, it should also be viewed as helpful. The research indicates that the enduring values of their parent are in fact transmitted.

So then as a single parent you should take a look at what you can do to more positively influence your teenagers and get through the often tumultuous adolescent years with less stress.

Here are six actions you can take:

1. Don't fail their test of your love. If you must withhold, withhold your approval, not your love.

2. Don't insist on intimacy. Communication comes in many forms. If you are fortunate enough to have an adolescent who shares his or her feelings, that's great. If not, don't force it.

3. Be sure your teenager has some reasonable amount of privacy.

4. Set parental limits. Make your standards and expectations very clear, but not excessive. Excessiveness invites rebellion.

5. Take their problems very seriously no matter how small they may seem.

6. Finally, like everything else in life, realize that adolescence like everything else will pass. Keep your sense of humor and learn how to laugh at what is often only a temporary difficulty.

On the other hand, there are some indicators of genuine difficulty in an adolescent such as: schoolwork becomes a significant problem; there is persistent fighting and arguing at home; physical complaints, anxiety, and depression of a chronic nature; there is significant difficulty in your child's social life such that she begins to avoid friends and isolate from others; and, any self-destructive behavior, sexual promiscuity, drug use or abuse. Moreover, any mention of suicide should be taken seriously.

When professional help is recommended, often I will suggest family-oriented therapy, which involves to one degree or another the entire family. While at times adolescents do need their own individual counseling, time spent working with the entire family can be particularly helpful to everyone involved.

Will Barnes, Therapist and Business-Financial Consultant, for over thirty-eight years has counseled individuals and families in the areas of successful parenting, relationship building, personal growth, and making sound financial decisions. Visit for more articles on successful parenting, building healthy relationships and the other key areas. Also if you are a single parent, go to the can't miss site for single parents.

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment