If you have children varying in age from tweens to twenty-somethings, it can be tough to find a balance when trying to parent both life stages.
The good news is, parents of twenty-somethings can breathe a sigh of relief.
It seems they are doing something right as, in general, respondents to the recent Growing Up in Ireland survey, who are still living at home, say they get on well with their parents.
However, it can be tricky for these parents to balance the need for independence of their twenty-something child with the needs of their younger siblings who may be in the midst of adolescence.
The teenage years
Early to late adolescence spans the age group of those between 12 and 18 years of age. This transition between childhood and adulthood can be difficult to navigate for both parents and children.
It’s a time of physical, sexual, cognitive, social and emotional changes. Teenagers want and need more independence from their parents, yet adults worry about how their children will manage in the world without constant parental support and guidance.
It can be a time of arguments at home as adolescents struggle to regulate their emotions, moods and thoughts, and their grown-up carers try to keep them safe.
This tension can be exacerbated by the presence of a grown up sibling. It can be hard for teens seeing their older siblings make their way in the world if they feel they are still chafing under the parental yoke.
Talk through your issues
Your child may feel that you don’t trust them and that’s why they have less freedom than their brother or sister. Instead of dismissing these feelings, take the time to discuss them and, while you’re at it, encourage siblings to take an interest in each other’s lives.
Spending one-to-one time with your younger child can help to strengthen your relationship with them. Even a five minute chat before bed is enough to strengthen those bonds. It can also be helpful to do a shared activity such as going for a walk or watching television.
If you can, try to follow a regular schedule for this one-to-one time.
It is very beneficial for your child to know that they’re worthy of your time and attention and it’s especially nice for them to know that you’re always there when they need you, no matter how many siblings they have!