Reminiscing my teen years, I have vague memories of torment and moodiness towards my parents. When I had my own teens, the tide shifted and I was always on the receiving end of the eye rolling, angst and moodiness. I often wondered what happened to my sweet children I worked so hard at raising and that loved me back unconditionally as youngsters. Parenting does not stop after the kids are in their adolescent years, I felt I could have done so much more to encourage closeness as a family and ensure the success of my own kids.
Adolescence is a time of important transitions for both the children and the parents. Your child is transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Parenting during this stage could be hugely challenging for some of us. Here are a few ways we can approach it:
- Have some together time: Have some dependable together time with your teens. Try to find a few minutes of conversation with your teen daily just to check in with your teen. Establish some time before bed to chat when they are lounging about. Try to establish a routine where you can have some quality time once a week.
- Parent actively and appropriately: Don’t be afraid to ask your son or daughter where they are going, who they’ll be seeing and what they will be doing. Get to know your teen, their friends and their parents.
- Try to be there after school: The biggest danger zones are between 3 pm and 6 pm. Drug use and sex is between these times. Make sure teens have some sort of adult supervision during these times.
- Make it a high priority to eat meals together: Meals are a great opportunity to talk about what’s happened in the day. This is also your best opportunity to connect with your child. Dinnertime is also the best time to strengthen your relationship with your child.
- Keep lines of communication open with your child: Get to know your your kids better. Listen to them and allow them to talk to you with whatever is on their minds. Don’t be judgmental and advise them in the kindest and most softest way.
- Encourage self-care: Encourage your children to get the proper sleep at nights. Eight to eleven hours is the recommended time according to the National Sleep Foundation for 14-17 year olds and nine to eleven for 6 – 13 year olds. This will ensure that their brains are working at their optimum level and their moods will be stable. Also encourage proper nutrition, eating fruits and vegetables and cutting down of the sweets and sugary drinks.
- Family meetings: Hold regular family meetings to create a forum for discussions. Implement some ground rules where everyone gets a chance to speak and listen. Give positive and constructive feedback. For resistant teens, give them incentive such as afterward ice cream or post-pizza meetings.
Having good parenting skills and developing valuable relationships with your child could benefit them now and for times to come when they will have their own children. Putting in the effort now could plant the seeds for a lifetime of success that can transcend all areas!