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Helping an Immature Teen Grow Up

by Samantha Kemp, studioD

Teenage angst comes with the territory of parenting a kid in this age group. Slamming doors, rolling eyes, whining and complaining that life isn't fair are unfortunate side effects of teenage-itis. However, you can change this dynamic and help your teen grow up by remaining patient and trying to remember how difficult the combination of school, home life and raging hormones was in your own life.

Release Control

Teens test boundaries, but parents can foster their children's maturity by letting go of some control. Choosing the important issues to be firm about while letting go of the need to micromanage their kids' lives can help parents keep a necessary balance. For example, a no-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol might be better than fighting over a child dying her hair or painting his fingernails black, according to, according to the KidsHealth website. The American Medical Association recommends to let go of more control as the teen begins to show signs of maturity.

Set Boundaries and Expectations

Just because you're easing control doesn't mean teens get free rein over everything in life. According to the American Medical Association, teens thrive on having limits. Additionally, setting expectations can show your teen that you care about him. Having clear expectations can also help motivate kids to meet them. At the same time, talk about what will happen if your teen breaks the rules.

Encourage Independence

As children become more self-sufficient, they might naturally become more mature. Providing plenty of opportunities for independence allows your teen these opportunities. For example, give him the opportunity to get up on his own, allow him to take on a summer job or extend curfew to show that your teen can handle these responsibilities. When your child messes up, don't always bail him out. Sometimes, let him live with the natural consequences of his behavior.

Provide Leadership Opportunities

Giving a teen a leadership role might help her step up her game and become more mature. For example, "ADDitude" magazine, a magazine geared toward parents with attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder children, suggests having a teen befriending younger kids so he can intuitively take on a leadership role. Other opportunities might include running for a school office, tutoring kids in her class or joining a leadership group for teens.

Improve Self-esteem

Teens might act immature sometimes because they don't feel good about themselves. By promoting positive self-esteem, you can help your teen recognize her positive characteristics and be more likely to adapt into a more mature person. Let your kids know you are proud of them and make compliments specific about each child so they know you take a personal interest in each one of them and their accomplishments.

Reward Positive Behavior

Although this advice works for toddlers, it is just as effective for teens. During teen years, some teens will try to get their parent's attention no matter the cost. But instead of only paying attention when your teen is making bad decisions, focus on the positive actions that he is making and acknowledge them on the spot. Positive reinforcement should be given immediately after a positive action.

About the Author

Samantha Kemp is a lawyer for a general practice firm. She has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles focus on legal issues, personal finance, business and education. Kemp acquired her JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She also has degrees in economics and business and teaching.

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