What to Expect During Your Child’s Teenage Years



The 3 am feedings, 2-year-old tantrums, and endless battles with toys likely challenged you mentally and physically. Yet, you might fear your son or daughter entering their teenage years more than any other stage of their life.

After all, you might remember your emotional outbursts, heartbreak, or school dramas well. If your son or daughter is fast approaching 13, you might worry about the issues you could encounter during adolescence. Here is what you can expect during your child’s teenage years.


Increased Independence

Many children often start spending more time away from their parents before their 13th birthday. From the age of 8 years old onwards, your son or daughter might prefer to spend more time alone or with their friends. As a result, they might reject your offer to play a game, watch a movie, or visit a grandparent’s house. Also, they might rebel against your dinnertime, bedtime, or chore rules in favor of scrolling through social media or watching their favorite show.


A Battle of Wills

Due to your teen’s desire to gain more independence and feel like an adult, you might feel at loggerheads from time to time. In addition to rebelling against your rules, they might question your actions, argue their opinions, or reject affection or interest in their life.

While it is easy to take their behavior to heart, you must remember that this is an intense and confusing time in your son or daughter’s life. They are finding out who they are and attempting to use their voice, which is why you must show them patience and understanding.


Peer Pressure

Children will often experience much peer pressure once they enter high school. Unfortunately, it is during this period that teenagers can stray down the wrong path, develop eating disorders, or experience bullying on and/or offline.

While your teen might make it difficult to monitor their emotions and behavior, you must look for ways to do so. Take an interest in their school life, pay close attention to their eating habits, and review their devices and social media platforms.

For instance, if your child is losing weight, is struggling with a poor body image, or has a strange relationship with food, it could indicate they have an eating disorder, such as bulimia or anorexia.

Social pressures, celebrity culture, and self-perception can play havoc with your teen’s emotions, as it is an influential age. For this reason, you must identify unhealthy obsessions and unusual behaviors and encourage them to maintain good mealtime habits and a strict bedtime routine.

Also, you could prevent your son or daughter from falling in with the wrong crowd outside of school by encouraging positive after-school activities, such as:

  • Sports participation
  • Dance classes
  • Music lessons

The above activities could provide your kids with a passion and focus, which will increase their chances of forming friendships with like-minded teens.


Social Media Usage

Most teens are active online. Your son or daughter will likely want to talk to their friends and classmates via social media, WhatsApp, text message, or email outside school. While many teenagers will only use a device to check in with friends, follow their favorite celebrities, and watch videos, others may experience bullying online.

Unfortunately, cyberbullying is a big problem for many teens nowadays. A study found 37% of young people between 12 to 17 years old have been a victim of cyberbullying. Also, 30% said it happened more than once.

Young people who experience cyberbullying are twice as likely to attempt suicide or self-harm. As you will want to protect your child, you must monitor their various devices and social media platforms. Also, you must ensure they are not the perpetrator of bullying, which could affect other teenagers’ lives and mental health.

Encourage your son or daughter to talk about bullying or another issue. Help them open up by sitting down for dinner as a family, planning a one-on-one day out, or ask questions about their friends or school life.

Inform your teen that they can turn to you whenever they have a problem, and they will not be judged or penalized for doing so. The above tactics could encourage them to discuss an issue affecting their mental and/or physical health.


A Potential Mental Health Disorder

While not every teenager will experience a mental health issue, disorder rates are increasing among those aged between 12 to 18 years old.

Children and teenagers may struggle with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • An eating disorder
  • A mood disorder

A negative environment or experience could lead to your teen developing a mental illness. For example, they might suffer from anxiety or depression due to cyberbullying, school stress, personal trauma, or following the loss of a loved one. However, it could stem from a hormonal or chemical imbalance. You can eliminate depression or anxiety by seeking professional treatment and helping your son or daughter follow a healthy lifestyle. Check out igniteteentreatment.com for top tips on how to overcome depression.



Teenagers are often so eager to feel like adults that they will want to set rules for themselves. Unfortunately, this means rejecting every reasonable request you make, rule you set, or direction to follow. The rebellious streak can lead to immature actions, which might make them look like a shadow of the sweet, caring child you have raised. For example, they might have emotional outbursts or display unruly behavior.

However, you must remember that the child you raised is inside of them. They are just attempting to assert themselves, even if it is in an immature manner. For this reason, you must introduce both rules and consequences to teach them right from wrong.

In addition to introducing repercussions, you must reward their good behavior. You can guarantee your teen will be more likely to follow your household rules if they will receive a perk. So, allow them to stay up late during the weekend if they complete their chores, or provide them with a gift if they score fantastic grades.


Increased Responsibilities

As your teen grows older, they will able to handle more responsibilities. Once they reach 16 years old, they can secure their first job and receive a driver’s license. While the thought of your son or daughter sitting behind the wheel of a car might fill you with dread, it is the first step toward becoming an adult.

Give your child the freedom they need to embrace more responsibility. Also, you must allow them to fail, as they will learn from their mistakes and bounce back from adversity. However, always be on-hand for support and guidance, which will improve your connection. Extra responsibilities and personal failures will teach your teen the importance of patience and resilience, which will help them become a well-rounded, mature adult.



In a bid to find themselves, your teen might attempt to express their personality and interests through fashion. For example, they might paint their fingernails black, dye their hair, or wear unusual clothing.

While their new look might come as a shock, you shouldn’t criticize their style. Instead, attempt to understand why they have chosen to dress in a different way. If you tell them what to wear or judge their distinctive outfits, you will create a barrier that might be hard to break during their teenage years. Provide the freedom for your son or daughter to express themselves and try to guide them in the right direction when possible.



Your son or daughter will start dating at some point in their life, and it could happen during their teenage years. While the thought might be a little jarring, you can expect them to develop crushes, face rejection, or experience heartbreak.

Dating as a teenager could improve their social skills, prepare them for more adult relationships, and build their confidence. However, you must establish strict rules for them to follow, such as curfews and boundaries. Plus, you may need to have “the talk” with your son or daughter, which should cover the following topics:

  • Relationship expectations
  • Personal values
  • Peer pressure
  • Consent
  • Safety and comfort
  • Considering feelings

Aim to be as open and honest as possible about dating and romance. Plus, you must encourage your teen to ask questions and express their feelings.



Almost every teen will experience personal issues, which could vary from heartbreak to a mental health disorder. Unfortunately, you might not always be able to protect them from a hurdle. Yet, your understanding, support, and guidance could help them navigate through this confusing time.

To do so, you might need to establish ground rules and consequences, monitor their devices and behavior, support their choices, and take an interest in their lives. It will ensure your child feels loved throughout the years, which could encourage them to open up, share their interests, and form a stronger relationship with you.

As they grow older, the immaturity will fade, the rebellion will ease, and they will feel more confident in who they are. You can then trust your son or daughter will appreciate all the help and advice you gave once they reach adulthood.


By Maggie Hammond


Bio: Proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, the great outdoors, and animal welfare.

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