Shared Family Plan: Thirteen to Fifteen Years, Part I

09 Jul

            Children between thirteen and fifteen continue to use the family as a base of support and guidance. Decision-making abilities vary widely among adolescents as well as from one situation to another.

             Though they may not show it, young adolescents continue to need the nurturing and oversight of their parents. The primary developmental task for children this age is one of increasing independence from the family and the emergence of an identity of a separate self. Girls usually mature earlier than boys.

             Children of this age should be encouraged to explore activities and develop social relationships outside the family. These outside interests often compete with the scheduled parenting plan. Teens will often prefer to spend time with peers over parents and can become resentful and angry if their wishes are not respected. The challenge for parents of these early adolescents is to support their growing independence while maintaining some basic structure and close contact with both parents.

             It is appropriate for children of this age to begin to negotiate their time directly with each parent. It is of paramount importance for parents to talk directly with each other to be certain that the child is safe and accountable. Parents should support the  relationship of the child with the other parent.


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