NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Fathers and Teens

Fathers & Teens


          It should certainly be no surprise to parents that adolescence can be a difficult time for both teens and their parents.   What may be surprising is that it can be more difficult for fathers than for mothers.  Research on parents of adolescents, especially fathers; report the lowest levels of well-being.

          The primary reasons fathers gave for their increased parental stress include the adolescent’s push for freedom, their failure to follow parental advice, and deviant behavior. There are many challenges to face as the father of an adolescent, but remember you are important to your child. A 1996 Gallup Poll indicated that more than 90 percent of the respondents agreed that “fathers make unique contributions to their children’s behavior.” So, Dads, don’t give up!

          Fathering an adolescent may feel like you’re losing control over your teen’s behavior. Trying to counter that loss of control by constraining him/her more may drive the teen away. Instead, focus on controlling your behavior and making adjustments in your fathering skills. As a father, there are many ways you can strengthen your relationship with your adolescent:

          Understanding: One of most important ways to connect with your adolescent is to understand the teen’s world. Adolescence is a time of change and transition in almost every aspect of life.

          Social: Friends play a much more important role in the life of your adolescent than they once did. Adolescents look to their peers for social norms, such as fashion, music, hair styles, and activities. But importantly, teens look to their parents for values and moral behavior.

          Psychological: Adolescents undergo changes as they strive to move from independence to interdependence. They generally push for more independence than parents are willing to give. The goal of this push is to eventually be able to function on their own.

          Physical and sexual maturation: Puberty involves several changes, including rapid acceleration in growth, development of sex glands and secondary sex characteristics, and changes in body composition. These changes affect the way adolescents view themselves. Adolescence is one of the fastest periods of growth in a person’s life, second only to infancy. Puberty may be a difficult subject to discuss, especially for fathers and daughters.

          Thinking: Adolescents make great leaps in their ability to think. They are better able than children to think about possibilities and abstract ideas, such as hypothetical situations and future goals. In addition, adolescents for the first time are able to ponder on the process of thinking itself. This makes adolescents better arguers than ever – and they love to practice on their parents!s!


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