When they said parenting is the toughest job in the world, they were talking in particular about raising teenagers. Teenage is that period between childhood and adulthood that can be very difficult for a child to navigate – it is a time of growth, self-discovery, physical changes and emotional turmoil. Here’s how parents can manage teenage:
1. Don’t threaten
One of the central principles of raising teenagers is to make sure that the child understands that each action has a consequence. So if you have clarified that X action will have Y consequence, follow through with it; don’t just threaten.
2. Show love
This can be tricky because teens can be prickly and easily embarrassed as well. So figure out what sort of demonstration of affection your teen in comfortable with and make sure that your child knows how much they mean to you. Let them know that you are always there for them; no matter what – help them feel secure in that knowledge. Whether you’re raising teenagers or toddlers, this principle applies to each parenting situation.
3. Be familiar with their friends
While you don’t have to be friends with your teen’s friends, you should know them to an extent. Invite them over for a meal, have a casual chat and keep yourself in the loop without being inquisitive. Knowing about your teen’s friends will give you valuable insight into what your teen is doing, your teen’s habits and other goings on in their life.
4. Set boundaries and assign chores
Setting boundaries gives a child’s life some structure. Assigning chores teaches responsibility. Make sure that these are done in age appropriate manners for raising teenagers effectively.
5. Don’t fight
Have a discussion but don’t fight with your teen, no matter what the provocation. Be gentle, don’t accuse and steer clear of the blame game. When you find that you do have to put your foot down, make sure it is for something substantial and important – don’t quibble over small matters.
6. Educate them about risks
Rather than nag them to do things a certain way, make education a part of raising teenagers. Make sure your kid knows about the perils of drunk driving, unsafe sex, online stalkers and other dangers and then step back. Your child may surprise you with their maturity. If you notice that they have given in to peer pressure and their overall appearance has changed due to acting out with some type of substance, giving your loved one a little tough love will go a long way. Whether it be taking them to the methadone clinic and seeing a counselor or moving, putting your child safety is important.
7. Help to lower pressure
There could be pressure at school, even among friends. Don’t add to this with your own unrealistic expectations; instead help your child cope.
8. Respect privacy
While you need to be aware of what’s going on in your teen’s life, you do need to give them appropriate amounts of privacy. Never stoop to spying – it erodes respect.
9. Nurture self-esteem
Self-esteem is fragile at this age and parents can do a lot to bolster a teen’s self-image. Appreciate achievements, offer encouragement and reinforce your teen’s belief in their self.
10. Keep the channels of communication open
Frequent and effective communication is one of the keys to raising teenagers the right way. Don’t let your disapproval make your teen feel that they can’t come to you with a problem.