Teenage transformations

It is important to remember too that even though, technically, the term 'adolescence' covers anything from the onset of puberty up till the age of eighteen when someone is classed legally as an adult, adolescent milestones vary according to their age. How a teenager thinks, reacts and behaves in early adolescence is quite different to those in middle adolescence and again different to those in later adolescence. I am lucky enough to have a selection from each group - as I have said, I truly am blessed!

It is all too easy to fall into the trap of lumping my children into certain categories. The autistic ones and the teenagers. The boys and the girls. Nothing is ever so simple and nor would any of us want it to be. The different colour of each child's personality is reflected back in some way through the others and I am sure that our household, and indeed any other, would take on a different shade if a family member were removed. Each family has their own unique set of dynamics. In our family the children's personalities, different blends of hormones and different tints of autism all serve to give us our particular mix of multicoloured mayhem!

One thing that is essential to remember as a parent or anyone working with children is that nothing is ever static. Children seem to be 'just at that age' from birth till adulthood. In a larger family it is hard to keep up with the swirling ebbs and flows of each stage of development and it is all too easy to be focused on one particular child and the stage he or she is at, only to turn around and realize that others have moved on to a new stage of development.

As each child moves up a stage, one would be forgiven for thinking that the next stage would be easier to understand and work through, having already parented several children through them. Not so! Each one is different and each hue of autism and adolescence results in a very different colour emerging. Matthew has now finished his A levels and is working through a difficult time in a need to find his way in life and search for a career. Rachel is well on the way to taking her A levels and will soon be knocking Matthew off his post as she begins her search, whilst hopefully he will have then established some sense of direction. Sarah is running close behind Rachel and is sitting her GCSEs and choosing which A levels to take whilst Luke drags his feet behind Sarah and is now (reluctantly) picking which subjects to study for GCSE. Anna is leaving the pre-adolescent stage and is now galloping forward at a great rate of knots as she rapidly becomes a fully-fledged hormonal teenager with all the joy that brings! On the other hand, Joe is replacing Anna and is entering the pre-adolescent stage with a developing interest in the opposite sex and the onset of puberty.

As each transformation takes place and the children move from one stage ofdevelopment to another, so too the job ofparenting takes on a different dimension. I am fully aware that the position I am in as a parent of mainly teenagers is very different to when they were all so much younger. I am also fully aware of the fact that soon the children will be maturing and some of them leaving home and the whole family dynamics will take a dramatic shift once more. For now, I try to enjoy each aspect of my job as a parent (I have to admit to not relishing the teenage moods!) and accept each new shift in my job description.

Funny Wiring Autism

Funny Wiring Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that manifests itself in early childhood and affects the functioning of the brain, primarily in the areas of social interaction and communication. Children with autism look like other children but do not play or behave like other children. They must struggle daily to cope and connect with the world around them.

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