According to West Ridge Academy, adolescence is the period when young people make many discoveries about themselves on the physical, social, and emotional levels of their lives.

They start discovering more about their bodies, interests, skills, and potential, and often show a preference for spending time with friends over family. They also begin to go on dates, even if their parents don't want them to.

With this constant change bombarding a teenager from all sides, any parent should be able to understand what makes this time in their child's life so difficult and unpredictable on so many levels. For this reason, every parent needs to listen to what their teen is saying about their needs during their teenage years. Parents need to offer enough support to their teenagers that they won't go to someone outside of their own family for emotional support or for answers to their most important questions.

With all the pitfalls that lie in a teenager's path, and knowing that the teenager's friends may not be aware of them or know how to step around them, many parents with teens prefer to have their children come to them for guidance regarding those sometimes uncomfortable concerns that are common to many teenagers. That way, parents have more control over how their teenagers understand and approach serious issues.

All parents must ensure that their teens know that all the struggles they're going through are perfectly natural and are just part of growing up. Although many parents would like to trust their teens to take care of themselves right away, in our times, dangers like date rape, drugs, alcohol, and violence are so prevalent that their teens may very well find themselves facing them. As a result, the best choice for parents is to start slow and gradually give their teens more and more freedom, until the day comes when the parents are sure that their children can take care of themselves in any situation without a parent hovering over them.

West Ridge Academy encourages parents to implement curfews as one way to help teens grow into the responsibilities of an adult. Spending more time with friends is a vital part of the process of discovering oneself and growing up. Under specific conditions, some parents even permit their teens to go out on dates. In and of itself, a curfew will not necessarily keep your teen safe from all harm, but it does put him or her at a lesser risk of harm, while giving you the chance to react and know where to go and what to do if you learn that your teen is in danger.

Parents must be sure that not only their teen, but also their teen's date or their friends, are aware of their teen's curfew. You should also be sure your teen is aware of what is in store for them if they miss their curfew, whether it's being grounded, not being allowed to drive for a certain period, having their cell phone or Internet access taken away, or some other loss of privileges. Be sure to communicate to your teen that you really do want him or her to have complete freedom, but only after he or she has proven that he or she can use that freedom responsibly and has earned your trust. Adhering to a curfew is one way your teen can earn your trust.

It may seem hard to believe, but your teen needs and wants approval and trust from you, and will do the best they can to please you. As soon as you've seen that your teens are responsible enough, you can proceed to grant them the next level of responsibility and more freedom. West Ridge Academy reminds you that if you keep your parental control and your teen's freedom balanced, and if you make sure your teen knows that the lines of communication with their parents are always open, it will be much easier for you to face the challenges of this sometimes difficult, but essential phase of your child's growth and development.

Author's Bio: 

West Ridge Academy is a fully functional K-12 school, accredited through Northwest Association of Accredited Schools, with a student-teacher ratio of 15:1. Opening its doors in 1964, West Ridge Academy has helped over 25,000 troubled teens.