Staying Connected During the Teen Years
Researchers are revisiting the age-old stereotype of the rebellious teen years. As more is understood about what makes teens tick, light is being shed on how parents can stay connected to them during this part of the journey to adulthood.
Consider the timeless stereotype of rebellious teens: They hit adolescence, start pulling away from parents, and often reach for independence and a sense of identity by confronting all sorts of risky business, from smoking to reckless driving to adventures with the opposite sex. But recent research delved deeper into teenage development to discern the role parents play in helping teens stay safe, healthy, and connected. The results yielded some surprises: one study showed that teens evaluate risk even more carefully than adults; another, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showed that fewer high school students engage in risky behaviors, like driving without a seatbelt and using alcohol, than in the past. And in a KidsHealth® KidsPoll of 9- to 13-year-olds, 43% of kids said that they do want parents to be more involved in their lives.
What to Watch:
The increased understanding of how kids develop and behave during the teen years also puts a spotlight on how parents can give kids the space they need to develop while staying connected to them during adolescence. And if parents and teens stay more connected, kids may make better decisions when confronted with the tough stuff of growing up ― from peer pressure, to opportunities to try drugs and alcohol, to decisions about sex.
Reviewed by: Neil Izenberg, MD
Date reviewed: December 2006
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