Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to deal with 'secretive' adolescents

MANILA, Philippines - Children who enter adolescence, or the period between ages 13 and 19, usually undergo a number of physical changes -- from an increase in height to a surge in hormone production.

Along these, of course, are changes in attitude and personality.

According to Maribel Sison-Dionisio of Love Institute Philippines, teenagers tend to be selective in sharing their thoughts and feelings, particularly to their parents, at this stage in their lives. Some adolescents may start to view their friends as more important or influential than their parents and guardians, who they usually consider as overprotective.

"Teenagers today prefer talking with their colleagues rather than talking with their parents," Sison-Dionisio said in an interview on ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.

Sison-Dionisio said parents should exert extra effort when it comes to reaching out to their children.

This as some adolescents who don't have a healthy relationship with their parents tend to engage in risk behavior such as smoking and drinking alcohol.

She stressed, however, that parents should not just start breaking the ice with their children when they reach adolescence. Rather, a parent's love and guidance must be felt by the child since day one.

Here are some of her tips in dealing with your "secretive" adolescent:

1. Don't stop your teen from having a crush or a "puppy love" as this is normal during adolescence. Instead, make it clear that this person should only serve as an inspiration -- not a hindrance -- to your child's activities. It's all about learning when to draw the line.

2. Inform your teen about the consequences of pre-marital sex, such as unwanted pregnancies and early parenthood, instead of constantly restricting their activities and interactions with persons of the opposite sex. That way, your teen is less likely to hide things from you, and more likely to make better decisions.

3. Let your teen decide for herself. Give her guidance, but don't make the decisions since these will only push her away from you. Sometimes, all your teen needs is a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.

4. Mealtimes are one of the best moments to communicate with your teen. Use it to your advantage.

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