Resources for Parents of Teens & Tweens
This too shall pass. That sentiment has become my parenting mantra. It is the phrase I hold onto when parenting gets tough, and oh, does parenting get unbearably tough!
Adolescence is a time in a family’s development that brings big responsibility and big decisions. As a parent, you will worry about your child’s success. You will stress about their choices. You will hope you have raised them well and given them the tools to help them move in the right direction. Adolescence will bring sleepless nights. But remember:
This too shall pass.
The adolescent years are distinguished by the pushing of boundaries, a rebelling against the rules, and an overall challenging of the system. While this fight for independence is normal and actually a sign of healthy development, it is likely to come with family conflict, tension, and extreme and unpredictable mood swings. During this time, you may come to both appreciate your teen’s growing sense of identity and independence and loathe the way they go about it. This time will bring anger and disappointment. But keep in mind:
This too shall pass.
Adolescents are driven to connect with peers and often social interactions take precedence over family time. You may miss the days when your child filled you in about every little detail of their day. You may long for the time when your child asked for family game nights or enjoyed watching your favorite shows together. Their bedroom door, now seemingly permanently closed, may become a visual reminder of the emotional divide between you. This phase will bring feelings of grief and loss. But know:
This too shall pass.
And when it does, because it inevitably will, if you were able to keep true to your parenting values, then your family will survive and may even come out of the chaos a bit stronger. This period will bring the birth of a new relationship. One characterized by connection, mutual respect, and pride. And this period will bring great happiness.
A child therapist and fellow parent
Getting Help on the Phone:
- Montgomery County Text Line: (301) 738-2255
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
- Maryland Crisis Hotline: (800) 422-0009
- Montgomery County Crisis Center: (240) 777-4000
Getting Help Online
- Lifeline Crisis Chat
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline Chat
- App: Calm Harm
- App: notOK – a digital panic button to get you immediate support via text, phone call, or GPS location when you are struggling to reach out. Connects you to trusted contacts that you have programmed personally into the app.
Getting Help in Person
- Montgomery County Crisis Center
1301 Piccard Drive Rockville, MD 20850
Unfortunately, bullying is a common experience for tweens and teens and it has only been amplified by the increasing use of social media. As parents, it is important to know what bullying is, what it looks like, and what you can do to help your child navigate their social world in a happy and healthy way.
A form of aggressive behavior characterized by three features:
- The aggressive behavior is intentional and may be physical, verbal or nonverbal.
- An imbalance of power exists in the relationship, such that the person who is targeted has difficulty defending himself or herself.
- The behavior is repeated or severe, causing distress or disruption in the target’s life.
A specific form of bullying that involves willful and repeated harm inflicted through technology. The likelihood of repeated harm from one cyberbullying incident is quite high because instances of cyberbullying can be accessed by multiple parties, forwarded to others, linked to other sites, and revisited by targets of the aggression – resulting in repeated exposure and repeated harm. Examples may include:
- Stealing someone’s online name and using it to write nasty rumors, comments, or gossip
- Altering someone’s message or doctoring pictures to mean something different or poke fun.
- Secretly recording conversations using a cell phone and playing the recording back to the person being talked about. Or, Forwarding mean texts.
- Posting damaging information or pictures online.
- Writing mean comments or spreading lies or rumors about a person online.
Bullying that affects a child’s social standing or status is a form of relational aggression. It can take many forms including shunning, hazing, spreading rumors, excluding others or teasing.
- Anti-Defamation League’s Bullying Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Families
- Montgomery County Public Schools Bullying Reporting Form
MCPS Bullying Incident Process:
- START PROCESS: Complete MCPS Form 230-35, Bullying, Harassment or Intimidation Reporting Form, may be completed by a student, parent/guardian, close adult relative, or staff member. The form should be submitted to the school principal.
- WITHIN 2 DAYS: The school principal/designee investigates the incident and documents the findings by completing MCPS Form 230-36. These forms are maintained in a confidential file in the school office. They are not maintained in a student’s cumulative file.
- WITHIN 24 HOURS: The school principal and/or designee will contact the parents of all students involved in the incident of bullying, harassment or intimidation within 24 hours of completing the investigation. The school will take immediate and appropriate steps to discipline the offender; support the student who was bullied; protect the student from reprisals and prevent recurrence.
- WITHIN 2 WEEKS: Designated school staff will conduct separate conferences with the student who was bullied and the student who bullied within two weeks after the investigation to verify the bullying, harassment or intimidation has ceased.
- DOCUMENT IN OASIS: Using both MCPS Form 230-35 and Form 230-36, school staff complete an entry/report in the OASIS bullying module for the victim only. A confidential file of the bullying reports are kept in the school’s administrative office.
- FOUR WEEKS: The school principal and/or designee will contact the parents of all students involved in the incident of bullying, harassment or intimidation within 24 hours of completing the investigation. The school will take immediate and appropriate steps to discipline the offender; support the student who was bullied; protect the student from reprisals and prevent recurrence.
In this episode, I speak with Kirk Voss to discuss how parents can help their teen & tween daughters thrive. We discuss how to create open lines of communication, tips for establishing healthy body image, and why learning to embrace short-term discomfort can lead to long-term benefits in our children’s lives. Give it a listen!
Content to come…