Are your children afraid of growing up?
These fears are normal and some might even say they want to be a child forever. As parents, make sure you are there to properly guide your children as their enter adolescence.
Make sure you’re ready to answer their questions.
So what is adolescence?
Meet Marinold, a 16-year-old adolescence health advocate. She’ll walk you through the ropes of adolescence.
“Adolescence is a period in life when a child is on their way to becoming a young adult,” Marinold explained.
“It’s a bridge in one’s life, wherein they experience many changes,” she added. Such changes are not only physical, but also includes changes in one’s thinking and behavior.
“It’s not just about puberty,” she continued. Puberty is experienced during adolescence. This refers to the physical and sexual maturation of girls and boys. (WATCH: Girls, are you afraid of puberty?)
“Adolescence is also about maturity. One becomes more independent, and you learn how to deal with your problems properly,” Marinold shared.
However, it’s important to note that “biological maturity precedes psychosocial maturity,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Aside from the above, adolescents also experience neurodevelopmental, psychological, and social changes.
Such changes might differ for every person. Some might undergo certain changes earlier, while others might experience them a bit later.
“The characteristics of both the individual and the environment influence the changes taking place during adolescence,” WHO reported.
Stages of Adolescence
At first, adolescence might seem overwhelming and intimidating.
As parents, assure your children that these changes are normal. Such changes will not happen overnight, but in three stages.
STAGE 1: Early Adolescence (10-14 years old)
“During this stage, children experience changes and growth in their bodies,” said Marinold. This is the beginning of puberty.
Hair under the arms and in the pubic area may start appearing. Some might also experience acne.
Girls may notice changes in their breast, waist, and body shape. Their first menstruation may start. (WATCH: Are you afraid of periods?)
Among boys, facial hair may start growing. Their voices may also start to change.
STAGE 2: Middle Adolescence (15-16 years old)
“During this stage, we’re starting to search for care and a sense of belonging,” explained Marinold.
“At this age, we spend a lot of time with friends because we’re looking for support and for people who will stand by our side,” she continued. (WATCH: Don't be afraid to express yourself)
As your adolescent children become more curious about the world, they may start exploring different things with their peers. They may also be exposed to various risks and vices, all of which are of course preventable.
Hence it’s important for parents to provide their children with the right information.
Parents must learn to support, educate, discipline and protect their children without making them feel as if you don’t trust them or that they lack freedom. (WATCH: Parents, do you talk about teenage pregnancy with your teens?)
You may also encourage them to take on new interests or challenges. Keep communicating with your children, and ensure that their ideas are also heard and respected.
Together, you can learn various ways on how your adolescent children can effectively handle stress.
STAGE 3: Late Adolescence (17-19 years old)
“During this stage, we become more independent and capable of decision-making. But of course, we still need the support of our parents,” Marinold emphasized.
Learning begins at home.
Hence it’s important for parents to be well-informed about topics they are to teach their children such as respecting SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; having proper diet, hygiene, and exercise; preventing unintended pregnancies, HIV and AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases, among many others.
Parents, don’t be afraid to openly discuss these topics with your adolescent children. Entertain their questions, but make sure you give them well-researched answers.