Maybe your child is still a tween or younger. But, the mere thought of parenting teens sets your stomach-churning. Or, perhaps, you are already parenting a teen or two and finding yourself ready to pull your hair out at times.
It is natural for you to get bogged down with the thought of how to parent a teenager. Many of you might also be wanting to seek professional parent help with teenagers.
But, parenting teenagers doesn’t have to be that bad, so settle back with a cup of coffee and take some time to think through the following good parenting tips.
These seven teenage parenting tips could help you to take the terrible twist out of parenting your teen.
Remember who you are
The teenage years are a huge adjustment not only for the growing child but also for the parents of teenagers.
When you are parenting teens, suddenly, you realize that your darling little boy who was contentedly snuggling in your arms just the other day is now sprouting a mustache and coming up with all kinds of wild and independent ideas.
And, all your princess baby girls can think about is makeup, boys, and dieting.
So, it can be a bit of a shock to the system, and you might be left wondering how to deal with your teenage daughter or son. But, this is when it is essential to remember that you are still and always will be your child’s parent.
Just because they are starting to sound and look so, ‘grown-up’ does not mean that your parental role has ended, on the contrary, now more than ever. They will need you to be their seatbelt on the teenage rollercoaster ride.
Let your love be evident
When you were growing up, did you ever find yourself wondering if your parents loved you? Of course, you knew they must because they fed and housed you, and they made sacrifices to provide for you.
But now that you are parenting teens, wouldn’t you rather be sure that they do not doubt their minds whatsoever that you love them?
So, while raising teenagers, the top teenage parenting advice would be- let your love be undisguised and evident to all.
Tell them often how much they mean to you and how glad you are that they came into your life.
Also, in the process of parenting teens, back your words up with actions that are kind and loving, as well as firm and outbuilding, which brings us to the third tip…
Have positive expectations
By now, your teenagers should know what is essential to you in terms of acceptable behavior, house rules, and good grades. If you expect the worst of your teen, you may just get it, so instead, have positive and reasonable expectations, which show that you care about them.
While you are raising teenage girls or raising teenage boys, encourage them to set their own goals and expectations too.
Make sure that you celebrate with them when they succeed. When there are shortcomings, be supportive and help them to get back on track and try to do better the next time around.
Don’t just focus on the end result but take into account things like effort, dedication, and attitude, thus helping your teen to realize that it’s not always what they do but how they do it that counts.
Be clear about boundaries and consequences
Firm boundaries are essential when you are parenting teens to make them feel secure, even though they may think they no longer need them.
It is a delicate dance of gently releasing the reigns as the child matures so that eventually they can reach independence safely and securely.
A teenager still needs about eight or nine hours of sleep per day, so help them to stick to a healthy sleep schedule. Be willing to let your teen learn how to negotiate and compromise with you about specific rules, but always make sure that you have decided on your limit beforehand.
And, don’t forget to reward them when they are keeping the rules well, such as adding an extra half hour on a curfew that has been successfully respected over time.
If you have set a consequence in place, be sure to follow through with it when the boundaries are overstepped. Otherwise, your child will likely be confused, and their respect for you may be undermined.
Choose your battles carefully
It is very easy for teenagers and parents to slip into a warzone, where every little thing seems to spark a conflict.
So, while parenting teens, this is where you need to think very carefully about the issues that you will and will not draw the battle line about. It is normal for teens to want to experiment and try out new things, especially when ‘everyone else’ is doing it.
If it is something temporary such as funny clothes, dyed hair, or painted nails, instead let it go and save your strength for the non-negotiable matters like alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and sexual activity – things which can cause long-lasting or even permanent changes and damage to your child.
If you are struggling with the way they want to dress or wear their hair, instead use the topic as a springboard to find out why they like it that way, how it makes them feel, and how others might see them.
Watch this video that talks about raising teenage daughters:
Make regular time for your teen every day, perhaps half an hour before bedtime, sitting on the edge of their bed for a chat. Listen while they share their struggles and joys.
Be supportive and interested in what they are going through and grappling with. Find out about their friends, hobbies, and sports.
So, when you are parenting teens, if you show genuine concern and talk in terms of your teen’s interests, you may find that he or she is more reasonable and willing to cooperate with your requests.
Be the role model
Teens seem to have a special kind of radar, which is very sensitive to phoniness or hypocrisy.
If you are giving them firm talks and instructions about the health hazards of smoking, but you are taking a quiet puff on the side, you can be sure your words will fall on deaf ears.
Actions most definitely speak louder than words, but if words match actions then that is a very powerful dynamic.
So make sure that you ‘walk the talk.’ If you want your teen to mature into an adult who is responsible, kind, and worthy of respect, then you need to show them how. The best way to parent your teen is when you are the role model for the kind of character qualities that you want to see in them.
If you have found this article a bit overwhelming and you are wondering, “Where do I start? This all about parenting teens seems way beyond me…” Don’t worry, just look through the seven points again and choose one which seems the most manageable, and start working on that – only one small step at a time.
Remember, even the smallest change can make a significant difference and redirect the trajectory of your parenting. So take that one step today to start untwisting your teen parenting, and the rest will follow, all in good time.
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Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.