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Navigating the Storms and Stress of Adolescence Together

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As parents, our need is to be needed;

as teenagers their need is not to need us.

This conflict is real;

we experience it daily as we help those we love become independent of us”

Dr Haim G. Ginott

Adolescence marks the arrival of an important transitional phase for the child.  Many parents often recognise it as a period of heightened stress. From raging hormones, an increased need for independence, to growing attachment to friendships, these changes often result in arguments between parents and adolescents. It is no wonder that adolescence is often described as a period of storm and stress (Casey et al., 2010).

Recognising the need to support children transiting from primary to secondary school, Zheng Hua Secondary School organised a talk for parents.  Mr David Seah, an experienced and popular Family Life Educator, presented key concepts of transition, highlighting significant changes – physical, emotional, intellectual and social challenges that adolescents in Singapore face today.

To support the teenager in navigating this period successfully, Mr Seah shared many strategies and reiterated the important role of parents as cheerleaders in this phase. Here are some tips to help our teens succeed:

Acceptance and Appreciation

  • Build their security and self-worth by affirming their strengths and unique identity.


  • Acknowledge their ability to make decisions by getting them to describe situations, and guide them in comparing the consequences for each of the available choices.


  • Be a cheerleader by providing encouragement when they make mistakes rather than commanding them to obey instructions.

  • Be available to them and listen to their views and discuss options rather than impose decisions on them.

At Fei Yue Community Services, we provide various programmes such as the evidence-based Positive Parenting Programme (Triple P) that helps parents learn more about parenting skills and child transitional challenges. Feel free to contact us at [email protected] or visit www.family-central.sg/parenting-support-programmes/ for more details.

Written by James Lee Chong Boi


Casey, B., Jones, R. M., Levita, L., Libby, V., Pattwell, S. S., Ruberry, E. J., . . . Somerville, L. H. (2010). The storm and stress of adolescence: insights from human imaging and mouse genetics. Developmental Psychobiology: The Journal of the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, 52(3), 225-235.