After going through the hassle of changing diapers and dealing with random outbursts, you’d think you’ve dealt with the worst of parenting. However, the teenage years can be equally as problematic as children go through a crucial development stage.
Parenting the modern teen is difficult because, along with a lot of changing hormones, teens go through emotional and intellectual revolutions that can make this a volatile time in their life.
Regardless of your view of teenagers, they are not as bad as some assume. They can be motivated individuals who have perspectives on various worldly matters. You need to understand that this is an interesting yet turbulent time in their lives. I’m going to list down some of the important things I’ve learned while raising a teen so you can see what a parent-teen relationship looks like.
Teenagers don’t usually like when parents set expectations of them, especially if they are too unrealistic. But, they are at an age where they understand that it is only fair for parents to ask them to get decent grades, stick to a schedule, and behave well. After all, parents have raised and invested in them.
The only thing parents need to remember is that they have to be realistic. Defining too high standards can exhaust your teenage kids, forcing them to underperform due to the pressure. Maintain a balance and try to go easy whenever required.
Start Communicating With Them.
Parent and teen communication combined is essential and can help your kids if you start it early. The earlier they get their answers, the quicker they will understand what is going on with them. Talk to them about the pertinent matters such as menstruation and masturbation beforehand so that they aren’t surprised by these things and can make sense of them from the outset. If you feel you can’t answer their questions, ask a relative or friend to do it for you.
You can initiate the conversation by asking some questions. You’ll know what the right time is when you start listening to them talk implicitly about sex and other teen stuff. Ask them whether they notice changes in their body and whether these changes surprise them. Begin with these and see how they respond to get started on their ‘growing up’ education.
The quicker you begin this process, the better it is for you and your children. Apart from the talks, give them guiding manuals or books about adolescents. You can also share some of your own experiences as a teenager to make them feel better. Your child finds comfort in knowing that you experienced something similar and made it through.
Respect Their Privacy.
Granting privacy comes easily to some parents, while it can be a difficult ask for others. This can be because you hesitate in allowing your kids to do what they want. There are security concerns, coupled with the fact that you have been privy to every detail of their life so far, why should anything change now?
However, you have to make room for a little discretion and privacy for your teenage kids. This is important for their growth into an adult. Of course, if you see them doing something wrong, you have the right to invade their privacy, but don’t intrude otherwise.
Granting your kids privacy means you don’t get to dictate who they call or text, and you stay out of their room. These are their matters, and they have a right to keep them private. However, you can reasonably ask them to keep talking to you about what they are up to in their life to keep a check on them. Remember, this is only a check and shouldn’t be taken further into the territory of invasion of privacy.
If you can strike a balance between giving your teenagers their space and keeping a check on them, you will be able to build trust without forgoing your duty to keep them secure and out of trouble.
Keep A Look At What They Watch.
There is a lot of information readily available for kids today. There is an unlimited supply of content available over the internet, and not all of it is good. Even though you should grant teenagers privacy, keeping a check on their reading and watching habits is important for their good.
You can set limits on how much and how long your kids are watching their phones or using their computers. Try to keep a check on who they are conversing with online and what media is there on their phone/computer.
Allowing your teens to use the internet freely is fine, only if it is for a limited amount of time. Unlimited access can quickly become an issue that can be hard to deal with as your kids grow up. You can also set time limits for using computers and mobile phones, and the teenager has to understand why.
Dealing With A Troubled Teen.
Parenting out of control teens can be troublesome for parents. If your kid is always angry with you or teases you, you may find it hard to believe that they also want to be loved and cared for. Here, communication can help solve any issues you and your kid have with each other.
This process involves taking the lead in helping your teen. Try and do the following:
Be there for him; Simply asking them to sit down and have a chat can be put off by your cranky one, but it is essential to show them you are there for them. Try and resist their avoiding behavior and keep pushing calmly for a sit-down with them. They will ignore many times, but at least they will know that you are open to a conversation when they are ready to have one.
Figure out commonalities; This can be an essential step for parenting troubled teens. Finding common ground between you and your teens can help initiate a conversation. For example, fathers can understand sons and find common ground in sports while mothers and daughters understand each other and find gossip as the common ground.
Try and avoid any personal topics as those will be ignored or put off by them. Find other commonalities to talk about and proceed from there. You don’t have to be their friend, simply show them that a conversation is possible. Once they are comfortable communicating, start bringing up more pressing topics.
Apart from these, you should remember that your child ignoring you can take a toll on you. You might get angry and/or depressed, especially when you get rejected by your kids despite trying so hard to understand them. Be aware of this, and don’t push yourself too much to change your teenagers.
Dealing with teenagers might be a hassle for a multitude of reasons. Maybe they push you away because of their changing hormones, maybe you can’t understand them, or perhaps it’s just that they are troubled because of some reason. In any case, you have to be considerate and try to help them. If you handle them well during the teenage phase, they will surely grow up to become successful individuals.
Erin Keller is the mother of three boys aged 14, 13, 11, and one girl aged 4. She currently resides in Fairfield but was brought up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she also completed her B.A. in Business Economics in 200three. Erin has been very involved with her kids, trying to balance work and life since 2011. Her experience with her kids provided her exciting content for her blog. The blog is Erin’s passion and an ongoing effort of a mom with four kids.
Visit https://momof4kiddos.com/ for more content on Erin and her family.
Feel free to contact her anytime at, [email protected]