(C) Julie Boyd 2012
Parenting adolescents can be a tricky balancing act. Young people growing up and beginning to assert their independence can provide challenges for the relationship you will maintain with your children, and particularly your son. Appreciating that they are beginning to strike out on their own, signals a time of change, and hopefully adaptation, for all involved.
This is a time when behaviour is changing, and the way your son sees himself, and you as parents, is crucially important to how he will progress at school, and how his relationship with you will grow into the future. Academic progress and social skills are both increasingly important in the development of your son, which is why Melbourne High School places such importance on both.
If we understand that all change and progress involves two opposing forces, that of support and challenge, this sometimes helps us to understand what our young people need most. If you provide too much support your son will not have the opportunity to learn the skills he needs to become the adult he would like to be. On the other hand if all he experiences is constant challenge, that may become a burden which may lead to other issues such as anxiety and depression. Achieving the balance between these is what makes parenting so difficult.
In keeping your sons (and daughters) safe and focused, the most important issue is that they feel that they can come to you to discuss their concerns. If, for some reason, it is not possible, it is important that there are others available to help.
At schools we have a team of teachers, coordinators, mentors, and student wellbeing staff who are all available to assist your son to achieve the best he can. Some other resources which you may find useful to help during this often tricky, but rewarding time are listed below.
- The Drummond Street Relationship Centre – 96636733, www.dsrc.org.au – offers adolescent and parent mediation where two trained mediators work with parents and their adolescent child(ren) to agree on rules and consequences and make a plan for managing hard situations in the future. (This is not counselling). Cost is factored on a sliding scale for a 90 minute or 2 hour session based on your income. Free to HCC holders.
- Parent line – 132289, www.parentline.vic.gov.au – provides a 7 day a week telephone counselling, information and referral service for parents with children from birth to 18 years.
- ABCD Parenting website – www.abcdparenting.org For many parents, their child’s teenage years are a positive time, but they can also be a challenge for both parent and adolescent. Staying involved with their children through these years helps parents manage difficulties and avoid some of the pitfalls. This website is based on the ABCD Parenting Young Adolescents Program, and gives information and support to parents and professionals. The site provides information about the program, answers to frequently asked questions and contact details for metropolitan and regional parenting, alcohol and other drugs services.
Other websites which are useful in answering questions you may have include:
EMERGENCY AND SUPPORT CONTACTS
Kids Help Line (24hrs) 1800 55 1800
Life Line (24hrs) 13 11 14
Gay and Lesbian Switchboard 9827 8544
Drug and Alcohol ‘Direct Line’ 1800 888 236
Reach Out www.reachout.com.au
Kids Help Line 1800 551 800 www.kidshelp.com.au