According to some parents, the teenage years are the most difficult time that they had to experience with their kids. During this time, these youngsters have their hormones raging and they are stuck between leaving their childhood and becoming full fledged adults. In addition to this, teenagers are making that transition from high school to a more independent life for college. Parenting, during this stage, can be an enigma but there are some essential tips that can ensure that you have raised a responsible teenager.
- Remember you are a friend but also a parent to your growing teen. Teens take solace in knowing their parents are there for them, appreciate them and understand them but they also crave their own independence as well in the relationship. You need to know that you could have a close relationship with your child without compromising yourself as a parent. Offering your teen respect, closeness, acceptance and trust means you will receive it too as a parent. But sometimes they will look to you to set limits for them that they can’t set for themselves, for example, setting a curfew of when to return from a night out with friends. And even though you want to be the coolest parent to your child that is always saying “yes!” to your teen there is a point where you will have to say “no!”
- Try to establish together time. This is very important. Your teen needs to be able to love and appreciate the time with you. Without it you are inviting a disconnect from your teen. Check-in with your teen by giving them a hug before they turn in. Also try to schedule some together time with your teen every week.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your child who they are spending their time with and what they will be doing. Get to know your teen’s friends and their parents.
- Try to be there for your teens after school. Studies show this is the time when teens can get mixed up with wrong company, drugs and sex. If they are spending time at a friend’s house make sure there is some adult supervision. This means another parent and not an older sibling.
- Make sure you set high standards for your teens. There is nothing wrong with you making sure that you expect responsible behavior from them. Set goals that your teen would like to set for herself or himself not goals that you set for them but come up with goals you can set together. Your child needs to learn to start setting their own goals now. Support your teens passions and explorations until they can find their own unique voice.
- Make it a top priority to have meals together as a family. After a long stressful day, your family needs to unwind and talk out certain problems. This can be done while your family spends time at the table where they can just talk and destress and what better way to do it than together during a meal.
- Always keep communications open. If you don’t know what’s going on then you lose out the opportunity to influence the outcome.
- Hold regular family meetings with your kids. Any family issues or decision making should be shared with all members of the family not only the parents. For difficult teens, give them an incentive to join the meeting i.e. ice cream or pizza.
- Keep your teens connected to your family by limiting computer and game times. Keep your computer in a common place so you can monitor your child’s actions without invading his or her space. Studies show that your kids will spend less time doing things on the computer that you disapprove of if the computer is in a common place.
- Make agreements with your child. If you have punished them a lot less they will feel less likely to disappoint you because they will cherish the trust between you two more and will not want to damage the relationship you two have. When things get difficult between the two of you work with him or her to come up with a solution to repair the relationship.
Ensuring positive parenting with your teen will build a long lasting and trusting relationship that will flourish between you and your child.