The notion that communication is a journey that evolves with the development of your child is at the core of the HEARO approach.
The adolescent years are a distinct period of rapid growth and development for a young person. In this period of enormous change, language and communication play a critical role for an adolescent helping them to define who they are and how they relate to the world.
Communication and identity
For a young person, this stage of life involves an emerging and evolving identity, and evolving connections with others.
In the adolescent years, peers start to have a bigger influence over family. The adolescent develops an intense level of self-consciousness, wanting more than anything to feel ‘normal’ and fit in. For the deaf and hard of hearing adolescent, they will find themselves constantly challenged by the intersection of identity and communication.
The exploration of self and desire to ‘find one’s tribe’, will be very individual. The young person may consciously wish to explore various modes of communication, in an attempt to connect with peers.
Furthermore, it will be important for the parent and adolescent to reassess support needs as part of the communication journey. As a young person enters High School, academic challenges will increase and the choices they make around modes of communication can influence their ability to thrive.
How you can help
Children and their parents often struggle with changing dynamics of family relationships during adolescence. But parents are still a critical support throughout this time.
The adolescent years can feel like riding a roller coaster. By maintaining positive and respectful parent-child communication during this period, your family can (try to) enjoy the ride!
Here are some things you can do:
- Connect with parents of deaf and hard of hearing teens that are further along the journey. This will help you and your child anticipate the changes that are likely to come with the High School years.
- Start early conversations about this part of your child’s communication journey. Starting these conversations during early adolescence will help build a good framework for discussions later.
- Keep conversations with your child positive. Point out opportunities and strengths. Celebrate successes.
- Be supportive and set clear limits with high (but reasonable) expectations. It could be for school work, behaviour and communication. Gradually expand opportunities for independence as your child demonstrates more responsibility.
- Honour independence and individuality. This is all part of moving into early adulthood. As a parent you have to increasingly let go but always remind your child you are there to help them when needed.
As part of the HEARO service, we have a Parent to Parent Mentor Program that can connect you with teen parents that are further along the journey.
Here’s a further link about adolescents and the communication journey:
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