A Parents Guide to Understanding Late Stages of Teenage Development –
What Parents Need to Know About Late Stages of Teenage Life
1. Thinking About the Future
- As the last stage in child development, teenagers need to think about their future academically, socially, and in the work place.
- This is a time to help them make their own decisions. The process of decision-making has been growing throughout their teenage life but late adolescence puts the pressure on making clear choices.
- Teenagers need to decide who are their most loyal and devoted friends.
- Teenagers identify who are their role models be they older friends, relatives, teachers, coaches, and/or their parents.
- Transitioning to focusing on career choices
- With the advent of college choices, teenagers need to decide if they want to branch out into the arena of the liberal arts or focus more narrowly on a specific career path. Choosing a college that gives them the opportunities they will need is both exciting and filled with pressure.
- Beginning in the junior year of high school the pressure is on to reach academic goals that will determine the likelihood of getting into the colleges of their choice.
- Parents need to help their teens modulate studying and social life, so that the realism of career goals come into the forefront.
- Internships and paid work often help the teen decide on possible opportunities that they may enjoy doing.
- Factors that help and hinder the late-high-school transition.
- Supportive parents who spend time helping their teens evaluate their choices assist these kids in planning the path to follow.
- Planning financial goals and opportunities realistically help teens learn what they
- Teens with learning difficulties should meet with guidance counselors and parents to find suitable colleges that offer needed academic services such as learning centers, writing consultants, and tutorial centers.
- Developing Multiple Plans
- Parents can help their children expect obstacles along the way with alternative plans that aid them in varying their expectations. Developing flexibility in career planning requires problem solving skills that parents can offer their kids while they’re still in high school and beyond.
- Parents can advice their teens to be advocates for themselves. They can build their self-confidence by encouraging them to be able to communicate to adults their needs when they are away from home. Teens who know their parents believe they are capable of self-advocacy strengthen their self-esteem and courage to speak up for themselves.
- Parents are needed for emotional, financial, and information support, but they also need to allow their youngsters sufficient room to develop their own sense of identity.
- Parents can encourage their teens to develop a sense of community so they don’t feel alone as they make multiple decisions. They can be advised that other late adolescents are going through the same process and they also can feel lost without peers to discuss their various options along the way.
- Coping with Stress
- Parents need to recognize that their teens are under a lot of stress. When they see them spending what feels like endless inactive time in their rooms, they can understand they are thinking about their futures. This is not wasted time and they should not be admonished for it.
- Parents can gently knock on the teenager’s door and spend much one-on-one time with them as they figure out their loyalties to friends, academic promise, and multiple decisions.
- If anxiety or depression seems underlying the teen’s inactivity, then a discussion of professional help is warranted.
The parent’s role in the late adolescent’s life is a big one even though the teen may seek more distance. Being available, listening very carefully to the teen’s opinions and points of view, help them deliberate about their intentions and goals. Being a good listener is as important as being a problem solver.
Read Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.’s book Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior to read stories about solving problems and improving parent-teen relationships. The book is found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold.