Parenting of Adolescents
Effective parenting provides a powerful opportunity to influence adolescent development
Adolescence is a period of rapid physical, social, sexual and psychological change. Parents play an essential role in influencing how they interact with this complex period of transition that shapes their development and identity.
Ongoing love and support maximize adolescents' trajectories, increase their resilience in the face of adversity, and promote lasting-effects on a number of health and educational outcomes. Effective parenting, therefore, is vitally important.
Life for adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean is often challenging with obstacles that may interfere with their positive development. Many adolescents in the region grow up in poverty and are often vulnerable to different forms of violence that occurs in many settings, including the home, with many parents condoning the use of violent discipline as means of education.
In addition, as they continue to develop and grow, some adolescents may become parents themselves. Rates of adolescent pregnancy in LAC are notoriously high, with around 2% of women of reproductive age in LAC reported having their first delivery before the age of 151.
As adolescents transition into adulthood, the parenting relationship evolves, and parents require new skills and strategies to meet their children’s needs.
What do we do?
Parenting is a key strategy of UNICEF LAC to enhance adolescents’ positive development. At the heart of our work we:
- promote loving, warm and affectionate relationships between parents and their adolescent children, using age-appropriate strategies, to promote adolescent well-being;
- improve parents’ knowledge of adolescent physiological, cognitive, social, and emotional development, to enable them to meet their adolescent children’s needs more effectively;
- develop parents’ skills to communicate respectfully with adolescents in a manner that respects their evolving capacities;
- support parents to employ positive, non-violent discipline techniques that rely on communicating expectations and setting parameters around adolescents’ behaviour;
- partner with governments and other institutions already engaging with issues facing adolescents and parents early in our programme development process.