The development of your child between the ages of 15 and 17

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Teenage children? At this age, physical and other changes continue. Changes that are not always easy to live with and accept and which can also create anxiety and restlessness.

In full adolescence, the way your son / daughter interacts with you and others changes. The body takes on more and more the forms of a man and a woman, but there are those who mature before and those after, and the comparison with others and with the stereotypical male and female models can create discomfort, insecurity ... your support and do not miss the opportunity for an honest discussion on the little big challenges of growth.

Read also: all about adolescence

Here are some developmental milestones typical of this period:

On an emotional and social level

• They have more interest in the opposite sex.
• Conflicts with parents are somewhat lessened.
• They show more independence from their parents.
• They have a greater ability to develop intimate relationships.
• Spend less time with parents and more time with friends.
• They are vulnerable to sadness and depression, which can impair academic performance and bring them closer to alcohol or drugs, unsafe sex ....

On a cognitive level

• They become good at acquiring and executing work procedures
• They show greater interest in the future of school and work: they ask themselves what to do when they grow up.
• They are better able to motivate their choices, even about what is right or wrong.

Advice to mom and dad
Here are some tips that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention give to parents to support the growth of teenagers

• Talk to your son / daughter, listen to their concerns and pay attention to any changes in their behavior. Ask him if he has had suicidal thoughts, especially if he seems sad or depressed. Suicide doesn't have to be taboo - talking about it won't trigger suicidal thoughts, but it will let him / her know that you care how he feels. If necessary, ask a doctor / psychologist for help.
• Shows interest in his school life and extracurricular activities. By the way, encourage him to participate in activities related to sports, music, theater and art.
• Encourage your son / daughter to engage in volunteer and community activities.
• Don't let your child lack praise: Commend their commitment and efforts.
• Show affection. Spend time together and do activities that you enjoy together

• Respect his opinion. And don't underestimate his concerns.
• Encourage him to find solutions to problems or conflicts. Help him try to make good decisions. Give him the opportunity to think for himself but be present and available for advice and help.
• Talk about how to manage the internet, chat rooms, messaging and social networks: what to post and not, the risks associated with the network, the importance of privacy, the time to devote to these activities.
• If he works, talk about expectations, responsibilities and how to behave respectfully in a public environment.
• Help him anticipate difficult or uncomfortable situations. Discuss what he can do if someone uses and suggests drug use or offers him a ride after consuming alcohol.
• Respect their need for privacy.

For your safety
• Talk about the importance of safe driving, the importance of wearing seat belts and helmets, not getting behind the wheel, much less accepting a ride from those who have drunk alcohol

• Remind him to wear a helmet even when cycling or playing contact sports.
• Talk about suicide, do not make this subject a taboo, and pay attention to any signs of discomfort. Suicide, reports the World Health Organization, is the second leading cause of death in the world among young people aged 15-29.
• Discuss the dangers of drugs, alcohol, smoking, and unprotected sex. Discuss these issues, ask what he knows, what he thinks about it and answer his questions honestly and directly.
• Discuss the importance of choosing healthy friendships.
• When you are not together, you need to know where he is and if another adult is present. Set times when he should call you and come home.

For your well-being
• Encourage your child to sleep properly, eat healthy and exercise every day.

• Keep the TV out of his bedroom

• Try to share meals. Eating together promotes healthier meals and family dialogue

, doctor, psychotherapist of the developmental age and researcher of the Department of Biomedical Sciences of the University of our city, consulted by MyModernParents to give some advice to mothers and fathers, reiterates:

1 - Learn to renegotiate the rules: listen to the requests of the children and do not underestimate their need for autonomy and independence. Encourage socialization activities in protected contexts, naturally defining the time of return and informing you where to go and with whom. "The point is that at this age it is very important that they have a very active social life, so remember not only to ask how they go to school, but also how their social life is going, what passions they pursue ...".

Read also: how the mind of teenagers works

2 - Prepare to be Zen parents: at this age they are very impulsive and arguments at home can easily lead to fits of anger and screams. Be careful not to scream louder.

3 - Better not to interfere too much in terms of friendships, but when they enter the area of ​​full-blown risk (i.e. alcohol, drug use and promiscuous sexual behavior), clear limits and boundaries must be set. Remember, however, that the parental device that protects is not the one that spies but the one that observes from a distance and intercepts the transgressions as they occur and intervenes in a firm and authoritative way.

Read also: the first outings of adolescents, how to manage them

4- Have a welcoming home. Try to open your home to its world, let them invite their friends to lunch, dinner, to see a movie, giving them the opportunity to organize themselves (they agree that they will then put in order): leave them field of action at home can be rewarding and makes the adult world feel attuned to their growth needs.

Welcome, respect, dialogue and comparison are fundamental elements to ensure that the family becomes a fundamental point in the growth process, as Pellai illustrates in the book This house is not a hotel!

And to support mothers and fathers in managing the relationship with their children, if they venture into the territories of dangerous choices (use of psychotropic substances, tobacco and alcohol, gambling and internet addiction), in the book And now it's enough! Pellai suggests some educational strategies to put into practice.


Teenagers (15-17 years of age)

  • teens
  • 17 years
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