Social and Emotional Changes

Many people think that the adolescent stage of life is always a difficult time and that all teenagers have bad moods and behave in challenging ways. In fact, some studies show that only 5 – 15% of teenagers go through extreme emotional upset, become rebellious or have major conflicts with their parents. Social and emotional changes are a part of your child’s journey to adulthood. Parents have a big role to play in helping your child develop grown – up emotions and social skills.

How can I personally handle them?

Self-acceptance is one of the best ways to cope with the social and emotional changes that you’ll face throughout adolescence. When you appreciate yourself, life’s challenges don’t seem so hard. Instead of criticizing yourself and pointing out what’s wrong with your life, look for positive attributes that reflect who you are. What’s special about you? What quality do you like the most about yourself? What good things would your parents say about you? Your friends? Realizing that all young people go through a transition period en route to adulthood will help you feel less isolated and more connected to your peers. Relax! Social and emotional changes are a natural part of growing up, so you are not alone!

What steps can I take to deal with social and emotional changes?

1. Talk to your parents. Remember, your mom and dad were once your age, too. They can be a great source of information on the changes that you’re going through, especially since they’re invested in seeing you succeed. Whether you’re struggling with school work, friendships, or body-related issues (puberty), your parents know how to help you. They’re the experts on making sure you are secure and happy, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them if you’re going through a difficult time.

2. Ask your friends. Often times when we face hurdles in life, we experience feelings of isolation, or a sense of being cut off from those around us. You may not like the new braces you have on your teeth, so you feel weird and different. Your parents may be going through a painful divorce, and you think no one can relate to how sad you are that your family is breaking up. During these times, it’s even more important to connect with those closest to you. Your friend three lockers down might remind you that, two years ago, she had braces in the 7th grade and her smile is perfect today! Or, your older cousin could share how he felt when his parents divorced. Even though it made him sad to his mom and dad separate, he feels their relationship is happier because they’re no longer arguing all the time. Talking your problems out with others helps you see the bright side to every situation.

3. Do some research. Picking up a book or magazine about adolescence is a great way to gain understanding of the social and emotional changes you’re experiencing. The internet is also a wonderful tool. Websites such as kidshealth.org allow you to browse various topics – from feelings to physical development – aimed specifically at adolescents. The more knowledge you acquire about the changes you’re facing, the more comfortable you’ll be as you grow into maturity.