How Do Parents Experience the Transition to Adolescence?

During the transition to adolescence, young people are forming their identities and will demand independence. The parent's task is to find a balance between giving them a certain amount of freedom and continuing to remain present.
How Do Parents Experience the Transition to Adolescence?

Last update: 14 June, 2021

The transition to adolescence is undoubtedly hard for children. They’re halfway between childhood and the construction of a progressively more mature and independent identity. However, this process can also be complicated for parents, who should know how to adapt to the changes in order to support their children in the best possible way.

Parents will experience doubts, fears, and, on many occasions, the desire to stop time. Nostalgia and uncertainty are emotions they’ll often have to live with as their little ones enter puberty.

However, this can also be one of the most special stages of growing up. It can even strengthen the emotional bonds between parents and children if difficulties are properly managed.

How to deal with the transition to adolescence in children?

Child in full transition to adolescence.

Respecting their progressive independence

During puberty, young people begin to demand greater independence and intimacy. They may start to want to close the door to their rooms, they may not be as open with their parents or as affectionate as they used to be.

It’s also at this stage that the first simple plans with friends begin to emerge, without so much adult supervision or involvement. The peer group takes on a leading role and the family seems to have less relevance. As a parent, try to understand this need for progressive independence and to set age-appropriate limits, without overprotecting them.

Respect the fundamental role that their friends now play and the importance that social life is acquiring in your children’s daily life. But remember, you’re still fundamental to their development. Even if they don’t hug you as much as before, they still need and value your affection.

Accepting the new being that’s emerging

During the transition to adolescence, it’s common for young people to begin to develop a personality and identity of their own. They begin to define their tastes, preferences, and opinions. Their character changes and matures as they do. But, during this process, many parents may feel that they’re losing the child they once had.

It’s common to feel homesick for the sweet, loving, and obedient little one that your child always was. At first, it may be difficult to understand and accept their new views, to start seeing them as a more mature individual. However, it’s important to unconditionally accept this new being, with all his or her personal characteristics.

Try to respect the image your children want to have, the clothes they prefer to wear, the music they want to listen to, or the friends they want to share their time with. Of course, always make sure that none of this is detrimental to their health or integrity. Instead of longing for the little kids that they once were, simply allow yourself to be surprised and amazed by the magnificent people they’re becoming.

Teenager undergoing huge changes in her body.

Establishing values

At this stage of life, it’s to be expected that children will want to become progressively more independent. It’s positive that they can take on responsibilities in accordance with their abilities and make decisions for themselves.

The parent-child relationship will no longer be solely based upon the former setting the guidelines and the latter having to comply with them. Now it’ll be necessary for negotiation to exist between the two. But for this to happen, it’s necessary for children to show that they’re responsible and trustworthy.

It’s not positive to limit teenagers and to try to maintain the same rapport as during childhood. But it’s important to convey to them that we trust them and expect them to act honestly and responsibly.

Continue to be a guide during the transition to adolescence

Finally, the most important thing at this stage is to find a balance that allows us to give our children space, but without distancing ourselves from them. No matter how much they try to pass for an adult, mature and independent people, they still need you, perhaps more than ever. Your support, guidance, and unconditional love are essential in this difficult transition.

For the same reason, don’t be afraid, you haven’t lost your little one. Don’t hesitate, they still love you and need you. Simply learn to let life flow, to find the beauty during each stage of their growth. Instead of thinking that every step they take will take them away from you, adopt the attitude of taking pride in their progress because you’ll always be a fundamental pillar in their life.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.