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Three Keys to Being a Dad of Pre-teens and Teens

By Dr. Brad Schwall

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” Mark Twain 

Attention 

Pre-teens and teens test limits. They explore and risk. Their social engagement increases requiring them to manage peer pressure. 

Give them attention. Don’t use their need for space as an excuse to stay out of their lives. They still need guidance, just guidance more on their own terms. Attention involves setting rules and communicating. A balance of limits and boundaries with attention and guidance create a safe environment for pre-teens and teens to learn from trial and error.

Acceptance

Pre-teens and teens develop insecurities. They are dealing with changes – physical, emotional, and mental. It's not hormones that cause adolescents to “lose their minds,” and they aren't actually losing their minds. Their minds are developing. 

They need your unconditional acceptance. In a time of great change, you can be a constant in your kid’s life. Acceptance helps them feel comfortable talking which gives you the opportunity to give guidance. Acceptance leads to confidence. 

Appreciation

Adolescence is a time of creativity. The adolescent’s abstract thinking is developing. Pre-teens and teens are developing ideas and opinions.

Enjoy and appreciate your child. Affirm the character traits being developed. Appreciation encourages a healthy attachment which serves as a foundation for the changes and growth happening in your child’s life.

 

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Dr. Brad Schwall has over 22 years of experience working with children and parents and is the Executive Director at PCC.