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Understanding your teen's behavior

CarolAnn Bailey-Lloyd is the published author of "Somewhere along the Beaten Path," a web consultant, freelance writer and artist.

Are teenagers from another planet?

While most of us have heard best-selling author John Gray's theory how men are from Mars and women are from Venus, we beg to ask the question, From what planet are teenagers? Read on to learn more about your teen's behavior.

"My oldest son came home with royal blue hair, pants hanging off his rear end, and took off for a night to camp out to purchase concert tickets," recalls Bethany Sorenson, mother of four, when asked about one of her "cherished" teen-parenting memories. Her concern at the time: how to convince her son, who "knew everything" of course, that he wouldn't be able to maintain his job with such an appearance.

 

In time, things returned to normal (hair color and all), but it didn't make those teen years any less confusing for Sorenson. She contends, however, that her love and discipline made a difference in the end. "The blue hair and baggy jeans will go away. Teens may get temporarily side-tracked on puppy love or not want to go on to college immediately,  but if you've raised them up properly, they'll wise up in time."

 

Still, it's easy as parents to find ourselves at a loss for words when dealing with the ups and downs of teenage behavior. One minute she's your best friend, the next minute you've become her worst enemy. While these are natural characteristics of the teen maturation process, it can often be very frustrating.

 

Growing pains and growing risks

Generally, both male and females are at one of the most important growth stages during their adolescent and young adult years. What's more, the National Center for Health Statistics reports that many teens and young adults engage in often-lethal behaviors like binge drinking, which sends spine-tingling chills down the backs of moms and dads everywhere. Not to mention the threat posed on the Internet as thousands of Web surfers register daily on social networking sites geared towards teens. 

 

The MySpace generation of adolescent communications adds to the common issues and concerns of teenage parenting. According to Dr Frank Farley, Temple University professor and former president of the American Psychological Association, having a "cyberspace sit-down" with your teens is imperative.

 

Farley drew a stark contrast between the "birds and bees talk" of yesteryear – in today's digital age, he says, "teens are way ahead of the curve." So parents need to make them aware of the consequences [of rampant cyber-crimes] like that of potential stalkers who target teens online then harm, kidnap, and even kill them.

 

READ ON...  The science of teen sassiness

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