LivingMy son grows up... he is already a teenager:...

My son grows up… he is already a teenager: how can I assume that children are no longer children?

“My son is getting older… he’s already a teenager .” Are you going through this stage and have mixed emotions? On the one hand, you may feel excited and proud to see him grow up, and to see the boy or girl he has become.

And on the other, you may also experience some nostalgia or melancholy, sadness at having to say goodbye to this stage of childhood, doubts, fears, uncertainty, bewilderment… Well, everything you feel is normal .

How to face this new life stage with your child and with yourself? Whether as a father, as a mother or as a couple. We give you some ideas to learn about the changes that this new stage entails and how to deal with them in a healthy way.

Goodbye to the boy who was

Actually, when our son, who “two days ago” was only a child, has already become an adolescent, we begin a process of grieving that childhood.

And through that grief, we have to say goodbye to this stage of his childhood; Of course we will never forget it , and it will always be part of our most precious memories, but we must understand that it was already.

Important aspects of entering adolescence

Many things happen when your child progressively enters the stage of adolescence, and it is convenient to know to better accompany him. Some of the most important are:

  • Autonomy : Your child may be increasingly autonomous, also emotionally. He feels that he “doesn’t need” parents as much anymore.
  • In search of his identity : he is also searching and knowing himself, he wants to know who he is.
  • He no longer asks for so much help : he wants to feel free, seeking that autonomy that we mentioned; therefore, you may no longer ask for as much help.
  • Friends have an essential role : an essential role in the construction of oneself, of one’s identity, self-esteem and self-concept; this surely makes him want to spend a lot of time with friends, and that they are very important to him.

“The cutting of the second umbilical cord”; however, your child may need a certain distance from you, the parents, to feel that he can fly, search for himself and make his own decisions.

It is a normal process, and very healthy, although it is also normal that it hurts the parents, who see that their child is no longer that little one; and hence the experience of mourning that we mentioned at the beginning.

The three duels of adolescence

It is also important that you know that you will not be the only one, or the only one, to initiate a duel; your son will also have to go through it (in fact, through several of them).

Arminda Aberastury, a pioneer of psychoanalysis of children and adolescents, points out that three main mournings are elaborated in adolescence: mourning for the lost child body , mourning for identity and the child role, and mourning for childhood parents.

And at this time of life, it is normal for your child to have role confusion , since he can no longer maintain that position of infantile dependency nor can he assume the scope of an adult identity. It is in that “middle point” so complex.

For this reason, it is very important that you accompany your son in these duels, but without him feeling that you are invading his space.

My son is no longer a child: how to deal with this process?

We talk about a duel

Remember that you also have a duel. Grief is the natural psychological reaction to loss, and this loss can also be an important stage change, along with the “loss” of childhood.

Our children are getting older and this is an important change; therefore, we must prepare ourselves for this new process and accept that reality has changed.

give yourself permission to feel

Give yourself permission to experience all emotions; all of them are valid, it’s okay that you feel that way. You may experience sorrow, sadness, bewilderment, confusion, nostalgia… all emotions have their function, welcome them.

Trust your children

Although this stage is new for everyone, it is important that you trust your children and their decisions (and even more so when they have shown you that trust).

Think of all those moments when they made good decisions , when you let go of their hand and they learned not to fall. Adolescence is complex, yes, but surely “they will do well”.

Accompany them respecting their space

It is also important that you accompany your children in this process of change, but respecting their times, their spaces.

It is normal that now they seek their freedom more, and that they want to distance themselves, in a certain way, from their parents. Don’t hinder them , let them be.

Seek new connections with your child

Now that your child is well into their teen years, it’s normal for their interests (and priorities) to change. Perhaps they want to be less at home and more with friends, start traveling, do things alone… and it’s normal, they seek that self-determination.

However, it is also a good time to look for new activities that connect you with your child.

Explore his interests , talk openly with him, cultivate that closeness. This may entail a process of re-adaptation to your relationship, but surely there are still many things that unite you.

A new life cycle: keep investing in yourself

And, in the same way that it is essential that you think about your “already teenage son”, and what he needs, it is also essential that you think about yourself (and you as a couple).

Thus, you can take advantage of this change in your life to immerse yourself again in the paths, projects or activities that you left “separated” when your children were born and they were still small.

It is the beginning of a new vital cycle; give yourself permission to reconnect with those hobbies and travel again, study , see your friends more often… whatever; everything you want and that you now have more time to do.

Take care of the couple relationship and look for support in the other

It is also a good time to take care of your relationship , if you have one, invest time in yourselves, in looking for moments of intimacy… And above all, support each other!

Of course, this is something that can always be done, but when the children are still small, priorities and logistics change, and it is not always easy to find moments for the couple.

Take advantage of the fact that your children are already teenagers and go back to enjoying your connection and the plans just for you. You deserve it!

And you, do you feel that your son has grown up without realizing it? What helped you better cope with this new stage full of changes?

Photos | Cover (pexels)

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