What to Expect From Your 16-Year-Old

Goals to strive for and behaviors parents can expect

Raising a 16-year-old is an exciting time.
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By age 16, most teens become more like adults than children. While many of them set themselves up for success in the future by getting good grades and thinking about life after school, some of them struggle to think past today.

It's important to make sure your 16-year-old is equipped to handle adult-like responsibilities, like getting a job and driving a car. Expect your teen to behave responsibly and be willing to step in whenever you see signs of trouble.

It's a key time to offer guidance and support. And when necessary, instill consequences that will teach your teen life lessons.

Encourage Your Teen to Eat a Healthy Diet

Many 16-year-olds are dealing with body image issues. As teenage girls tend to have a set figure or shape and boys tend to have very awkward bodies at this age.

So don't be surprised if your teen calls herself fat or if she complains her clothes don't look good on her. But keep an eye out for unhealthy behavior, like crash diets or excessive exercising. It can be a prime time for teens to develop eating disorders.

Keep the focus on health, and not on weight or appearance. Eat a balanced, healthy diet and have family dinners. Pay attention to what your teen is eating and stock the refrigerator with healthy food.

Don't Let Your Teen Skimp on Sleep

Many 16-year-olds pride themselves on their ability to stay up until the wee hours of the morning. And many of them struggle to wake up on time for school.

While you can't force your teen to go to sleep early, you can help her establish healthy sleep habits. Don't let her sleep with a smartphone in the bedroom, for example. She may be tempted to send text messages in the middle of the night or she may be chatting with friends late into the night.

Also, don't let your teen sleep all day on the weekends. Establish a rule that says he must wake up at a certain time on non-school days. If he can't abide by the rules, consider limiting his privileges.

Sleep is key to your teen's health and well-being. And if your teen is driving, you'll want to make sure he's not sleep-deprived when he's behind the wheel.

Encourage Plenty of Exercise

If your 16-year-old isn't active, now is the time to make exercise a priority. Many of the habits established now will last a lifetime.

Even if your teen isn't into sports, there are many activities that can get him moving. You can also make physical activity a family activity. Go for an evening walk after dinner or go hiking on the weekends.

Limit your teen's screen time and encourage him to spend time outside. Talk about the importance of keeping his body healthy and make it a priority to be a good role model.

Be On the Lookout for Stress-Related Issues

Middle adolescence can involve new types of stress. Many teens begin worrying about college or deal with breakups for the first time.

There can also be a lot of stress related to sports, academics, and social activities.So it's important to keep an eye on your teen's stress level.

A stressed out teen may suffer emotional and physical consequences. Proactively teach your teen how to manage stress and talk about the importance of managing stress in a healthy way.

Behaviors, Responsibilities, and Discipline

Establish rules that will keep your teen safe but give your 16-year-old the freedom to make some mistakes. Natural consequences can often be the best teacher.

Resist the urge to micromanage your teen but make sure you don't back off too much. Without your guidance and support, your 16-year-old may go down an unhealthy path.

Goals to strive for and behaviors parents can expect.