Coaching Kids Through Their “Awkward” Stage

Although we all love our children no matter what they look like, we all remember periods of our life where we felt stuck in between childhood and adulthood and didn’t like it. Typically, what people call the “awkward stage” takes place at around ages 11-14, making middle school a tough time for most kids. Although we all went through this period ourselves at one point, it can still be challenging to relate to a child who’s going through it in front of your eyes. Although you can’t change the situation, you can help coach your kid through it. Here’s how.

Understand the Changes

We all know what happens to a child biologically during puberty, but it might be hard to accept the emotional state of a child going through it. You might even find yourself asking “is this really my kid?” more than once a day! First of all, remember that yes, they are your kid and what you’re seeing is normal. Secondly, it’s important to understand the biological reasons for why these emotional changes are happening. The body of a child going through puberty is constantly being flooded with hormones, causing physical and psychological changes.

Foster a Positive Body Image and Psychology

Children’s bodies change during puberty, which is a big part of the reason they feel so “awkward”. This awkwardness manifests itself in several ways, like clumsiness and insecurity. Clumsiness you can’t do too much about, but insecurity needs to be addressed. Although you should always be encouraging healthy behaviors, like eating right and exercising, it’s important to recognize signs of eating disorders or other self-destructive behaviors because they have a tendency to begin during these years.

Encourage Independence

One of the most drastic changes that occur during this stage is the child’s sudden and intense urge to distance themselves from the rest of the family. Of course, this comes as a shock to most parents, given the fact that children are typically attached to their parents at the hip when they’re little! Although it might be hard for some parents, this is the time when it’s good to give them a longer leash so they can branch out and begin to explore the world as young adults.

My name is Jessica Cox, and I benefitted from having parents who raised me to overcome challenges and take pride in myself as a person. If you’re interested in having me speak at your next convention, meeting, or faith-based gathering, call me at 520-505-1359 or contact me on my website.