It’s Not Easy Being Teen

August 4, 2008 by  
Filed under Teenagers/Tweens

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A lot of parents are just blown away when they discover that kids of 10 and 11 years old have heard about the issues of drugs or alcohol or sex and smoking. Children as early as 10, 11, 12 years old are well on their way to becoming cognitive thinkers. And it’s up to parents to make the adjustments to the realities. Like it or not.

“We owe it to the children to make that shift,” said Melbourne doctor Vicki Panaccione. “It’s about balancing control with independence, and who gets to make which decisions. And at some point, you have to have faith in the basic foundation you’ve provided for them and allow that growing process to evolve.”

Ironically, parents who began raising their toddlers with kid-choice tactics often forget how effective they were after those same children become teenagers.

“When they’re little, you give them choices as a way to help them develop independent thought,” Panaccione said. “‘Do you want to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt today?’ And if you’ve been treating your kids that way all along, keeping the channels of communication open, you’re in a much better position for some negotiation.”

As Panaccione said, “Keep the dialogue open. Sometimes even if you’ve given them a solid foundation, they still have to swing beyond it. But make sure you’ve been talking along the way, and that you aren’t overreacting to behavior that’s a normal part of growing up.”

As published in Florida Today.

© MMVI Vicki Panaccione, Ph.D.

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