The teenage years can be a difficult time for both parents and teens. There are a lot of changes happening physically, emotionally, and mentally, and it can be tough to know how to best support your child during this time. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help make the transition smoother for everyone involved. Here are five tips for preparing for the teenage years.

1. Talk to Your Child About the Changes They Can Expect

The first step is to simply talk to your child about the changes they can expect during puberty. It’s especially important, to be honest, and open about what’s happening to their bodies, so they don’t feel embarrassed or scared. For example, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, 85% of teenagers and young adults between the ages of 12 and 24 experience acne breakouts. So, it’s important to let them know that this is normal and that there are things they can do to help manage it.

You should also talk about other changes they might experience, like mood swings and increased body hair. Let them know that these changes are all part of growing up, and everyone goes through them. If you’re not sure how to start the conversation, there are plenty of resources available, like books and websites, that can help.

2. Encourage Your Teen To Express Their Feelings

It’s also important to encourage your teen to express their feelings, both good and bad. It can be tempting to want to fix everything for them, but it’s important to let them know it’s okay to feel sad, angry, or scared sometimes. This is a chance for them to learn how to cope with and express their emotions in a healthy way.

One way to do this is to simply listen when they want to talk. Show them that you’re there for them and that you care about what they’re going through. You can also suggest journaling or other creative outlets, like painting or music, as a way for them to express themselves.

3. Talk About Body Hygiene

According to the CDC, approximately 6 million to 12 million lice infestations occur in America each year among children 3 to 11 years old. So, it’s important to talk to your pre-teen about body hygiene and how to prevent things like lice. This is also a good time to discuss other hygiene-related topics, like personal care products, shaving, and deodorant.

In addition to talking about these things, you should also ensure they have the necessary supplies. For example, if they start shaving, ensure they have a good razor and shaving cream. If they’re using deodorant for the first time, help them pick one that’s right for their skin type.

4. Create Structure and Rules for Your Home

According to child development experts, at 18 months, most kids are ready to start using stairs. During this time, you probably had some sort of railing or gate to help prevent them from falling. As your child gets older, they’ll need different types of support and structure. For example, during the teenage years, it’s important to set rules and expectations for things like curfews, chores, and social media use.

It’s also important to have regular family meetings so everyone can stay on the same page. This is a time for you to listen to your teen’s concerns and for them to understand your expectations. Family meetings also give everyone a chance to brainstorm solutions to problems together.

5. Seek Help When You Need It

Lastly, don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it. The teenage years can be tough, and there will probably be times when you feel like you’re in over your head. That’s okay! There are plenty of resources available to help, whether you need someone to talk to or just some advice on how to deal with a particular situation.

For example, if your teen is having trouble in school, you can talk to their teachers or guidance counselor. If they’re dealing with a mental health issue, there are counselors and therapists who specialize in working with teenagers.

Parenting a teen can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the tips above, you can set your teen up for success during this important time in their life.