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In Touch With Relationships The Arts and Your Teen


dolescence can be a challenging time for both youth and parents. A child’s identity transfers from a primary reliance on their family to their peers. From a family development perspective, this is normal and expected; however, teens and parents often struggle with this shift and may experience significant amounts of stress.

Teens may become caught between a continued need for parental approval and acceptance and the emerging need to join their peers in the race for autonomy. The volatility of what

Our culture’s need for effective leadership will likely be influenced by the creative and artistic minds of today’s youth.

is “cool” in the peer group is harder to predict than the quickly changing Oklahoma winds; this often manifests in your child as a sense of vulnerability, lack of confidence, and weakened selfesteem.

a showing or performance). Similar support from teachers and other role models provides further encouragement. Equally important is support, encouragement and participation of others in your child’s peer group.

Engaging a teen in an extracurricular activity can provide a positive counterbalance to this peer group volatility. Positive activities such as community-based programs, church youth groups, part-time work, or individual lessons (such as music or art) engage teens in a way that may help to keep them from negative activities, including drugs, gangs or other antisocial behavior.

It can be a delicate balance to support your teen while also respecting his need for boundaries and autonomy. Talking with him to make plans for your involvement may help relieve tension.

Children greatly benefit from parental or other adult encouragement for their involvement in artistic endeavors. A recently-published psychological study indicates that teens identified positive support and encouragement from family members, teachers and peers as having a significant impact on their sustained INFANT • TODDLER • PRESCHOOL • PRE-K interest in arts. KINDERGARTEN • AFTER-SCHOOL

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February 2009

Additional research in the area of teens and the arts shows that children often learn effective skills, such as collaboration, conflict resolution and stress-coping tools when they are involved in a peer-based creative environment. These skills contribute greatly to their development of personal responsibility, confidence, self-esteem, and autonomy. This social development is critical to prepare your teen for the next stages of life, including college and work.

Our culture’s need for effective leadership will likely be influenced by the creative and artistic minds of As parents, you today’s youth. The above principles can support your of support for our youths’ positive teen by offering interest can be generalized to all areas encouragement of extracurricular activities. However, followed by the arts seem to present a unique assistance and opportunity for families to appreciate participation and encourage the development of (such as attending effective autonomy through the special Women’s artistic talents of NEW Self-Defense Class our youth. Learn Chinese Kung Fu, designed to enable smaller defenders to defeat stronger attackers Saturdays 9-10:15am (Female 13+) Eight-Week Course Call Today! Sonlight Martial Arts Complete class description at 4526 NW 16 OKC 314-6727

Dr. Paul Tobin is a health services psychologist and active member of the American Psychological Association and the Oklahoma Psychological Association. He works with children and adults within the offices of Paul Tobin, Ph.D., PC and Ann Benjamin, M.Ed., Inc.