Information for Parents - Adolescents

After childhood, adolescence is the next building block into adulthood. This is a stage where young people are working out their identity, what they think about themselves and others and their place in the world. As well, the young person is beginning the ‘move’ away from the family focus that has been so important in their childhood and will want more independence and time away from the family. Peers often become the new focus and young people will want to spend more time with their friends and may start to decline opportunities to go out with the family. They are also beginning to discover their sexuality as their physical development continues.  Financial independence also becomes a focus and the young person may want a part time job.

All these changes are essential for the young person to learn about the world in a new way on their way to becoming a responsible adult.

However for many parents, adolescence can often present frustrations as your child now may more assertively disagree with you on a range of things and may not readily accept parental guidance as they had once done.

It is then a good time to reflect on your individual parenting and communication style and what is needed to continue to develop positive relationships within your family into the future. A parenting style which is based on negotiation and positive communication will assist with parenting a young person.

For the parent with a child who has additional needs such as dyslexia or learning disabilities, there may be a range of extra issues and questions which present.

  • How is my young person coping in secondary school with a range of teachers, books, timetabled lessons?
  • How can I ensure that they have success in secondary school?
  • How will they cope in the school grounds? Will they be bullied?
  • How will they cope with the increased work load in secondary school?
  • Who do I contact in the school with any issues?
  • What do I do if school becomes too much for my young person

Getting the right information about your young person and how you can assist them at this stage in their development and getting support for yourself as a parent is crucial!

Parenting Advice

  • Ensure that you have a friend or family member who is supportive to talk freely about your young person and parenting experience at this stage.
  • General parenting advice and support is available from Parentline or call 13 2289
  • Parenting Research Centre –
  • Raising Children Network also has much information on its website –
  • Regional Parenting Services are provided in every region and conduct sessions for parents of adolescents and general parenting programs. See the Parenting Research Centre website for details
  • Parenting South Australia is also a great general resource –
  • Association for Children with a Disability – or 9818 2000
  • Schools sometimes provide parent information sessions.