School readiness - curiosity

Becoming a young adult

Changes during the teenage years

The teenage years can be hard for young people and their parents and carers. As well as ‘physical’ changes, children go through ‘psychological’ changes as they get older. They begin to explore their identity and find out who they are. This often means they will try new things, take risks and sometimes put their friends and romantic relationships above their families.

All of this is natural – but it might be confusing for you, and that’s OK. Here are some small things you can do to cope with these changes together.

 

  • Keep talking - it's important to keep talking with your child. Let them know you are interested in their world. Show that you are there to help when they are worried or stressed and ready to celebrate when they do well.
  • Let them know they are loved - even if it might not seem like it, young people still need their parents and carers and want to feel loved, even when - especially when - they make mistakes.
  • Continue to set rules – during their teenage years, children often try to test rules or boundaries. This might include things such as the time you expect them to be home on a school night. Explain that these rules are there to help keep them safe. You might want to show them how everyone in the family also has to follow rules. For example, adults have to come home on time too otherwise people will worry, and they also need to go to bed earlier in the week because they have things to do the next day.
  • Be there when things go wrong – all humans make mistakes – and so will your child. When they do, they’ll need support and advice from you. Making mistakes can make young people upset or angry. You can help them to fix things or respond to the mistake calmly and avoid being embarrassed.   

 

Starting college or university

Young people who choose to move onto college or university may be excited at their first taste of freedom and looking forward to making their own decisions. But these things can also be overwhelming. 

Young people need to become independent learners and manage their work. At the same time, many of them move away from home for the first time, look after their own money and have to make new friends. As a result, they may struggle to connect with people or feel like they ‘belong’ - and both of these things are important for their wellbeing.

But remember – although it might feel scary, the experience can help your child to manage change throughout their life. So how can you encourage them to become independent, while still being there for them?

 

  • Help them to learn life skills such as looking after their money, organising their time and priorities, and making decisions.
  • Help them feel connected to people, whether they are living at home or away. Let them know that you’re there if they need you, but it might also be a good idea to arrange regular chats, whether that’s by text, online or face to face.
  • Try to involve them in the family by keeping them up to date. Be interested in their new experiences and continue to encourage them to talk about their feelings.
  • Make sure your child knows who to turn to in their college or university if they need help. Check that they are familiar with the college or university’s pastoral support and how to contact them.

 

 

How can I support my child through big changes?

Some ways to help your child deal with new things in their lives.

How can I support my child through big changes?

What is different about secondary and high school?

The changes you and your child can expect when they make the step from primary school.

What is different about secondary and high school?

How can I prepare my child for secondary or high school?

Skills you can practise together at home to help the first few weeks go smoothly.

How can I prepare my child for secondary or high school?

How can I prepare myself for the move to secondary or high school?

Several ways to look after yourself and make sure you're OK during the move.

How can I prepare myself for the move to secondary or high school?

Helpful links and further reading

More practical advice, resources and information for families about this big step.

Helpful links and further reading

Becoming a young adult

Advice about the changes your child may experience during their teens.

Becoming a young adult
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