After hitting puberty, kids’ developmental stages are a time of curiosity and experimentation. But even during that discovery phase, there’s normal and there’s extreme, when it comes to behaviour. What’s the best way to handle sticky situations?
‘First and foremost, it’s important for parents to ensure they have educational conversations with their kids and put pre-emptive measures in place, instead of waiting for an undesirable situation to take place,’ advises educational psychologist, Claire O’Mahony. ‘Parents also need to educate themselves about the stages their kids are going through and the kind of behaviour to expect in each one. The adolescent ages are when they’re trying to find themselves – who they are, where they fit in – and exploration and the opinions of their friends mean a great deal to them.’
A puff here, a sip there…
Speak to your kids early on about what is and isn’t appropriate. Also look at yourself and the kind of behaviour you’re modelling for your kids. Do you come home and have a drink every evening because ‘it’s been a long day’? Using alcohol as a coping mechanism is dangerous because that’s what your children may grow up believing. Over time, they too may justify drinking because ‘they’re stressed out by exams’.
Create a healthy relationship between you and your kids