Next Stop Adulthood: Tips for Parents

As youths enter middle adolescence, preoccupation with physical changes abates, while peer relationships become more stable. Teenagers also have improved cognitive abilities that begin to match their physical maturation. Teens and their parents find themselves renegotiating their relationship. It is appropriate for both teens and parents to discuss the transition into adult independence and responsibility. Nevertheless, the need for parental monitoring and support continues to be important. The bulk of this brochure discusses concrete areas of tension and negotiation between teenagers and adults. It simultaneously encourages parents to let go and encourages teenagers to look to their parents for guidance.

Many families have busy working parents and busy teenagers. However, parents continue to provide guidance and set appropriate behavioral expectations for their teenagers. Conflicts arise when parents have unrealistic expectations of teens. For teens, simple adult behaviors, such as scheduling one's time, need to be learned. Parents play an important role in helping teenagers with these kinds of issues.

How to Use This Tool

  • This brochure can be used as a starting point in discussing growing independence, and comments need to center on any issues that appear to be problematic for the family. Be cognizant of the family constellation when using the suggestions found in the brochure, and that the person most responsible for monitoring the teen's behavior may not be the parent at the visit.
  • Those teenagers who are already getting into substantial trouble may need a referral to a social worker or other mental health professional to help better understand and implement these concepts.
Helpful Hints

  • This brochure may be especially useful when talking with community groups.
  • In addition to the family relationships discussed in this brochure, it also is useful to discuss employment, community service, sports, clubs, or other pursuits. Teenagers need positive engagement with their outside community to thrive.

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