If you’re a parent, you have to deal with the fact that, soon enough, your kids are going to turn into teenagers. Maybe they already have. Anyway, the point is that teenagehood can be a difficult period for the child as well as the parent. In fact, it can be downright confusing and frustrating.
However, since you’re the adult, it’s your job to act like one. This means getting along with your teenage daughter or son. There are certain changes that you will have to make in how you deal with him/her. At the same time, you need to remind them that you’re in charge.
That way, you’ll be able to provide the structured, supportive, loving, and safe environment that all teenagers deserve and need.
Here are a few tips to help you out.
Treat Them Like Teenagers
Remember the time when your own parents treated you like a child when you clearly weren’t a child anymore? Didn’t feel great, did it? Well, the sad part is, you’re going to be tempted to do the same. However, we ask you to be very conscious of that possibility and remind yourself that your teenager isn’t a child anymore.
A teenager is just that – a teenager. She/he is stuck somewhere between being an adult and a child. This is a very confusing time. So, they need all the help they can to get through this phase and evolve into a fully functional and responsible adult.
Teenagers can be quite underdeveloped when it comes to functions such as decision making or impulse management. However, they have a strong urge to live independently like adults. This is where you need to strike a fine balance.
Prepare yourself for some irrational behavior and emotional outbursts. But, give your teenager a long rope. Let them explore their freedom. Your job is to stand in the background and watch. Intervene only when necessary. The idea is to help them learn from their mistakes.
It might be tempting to adopt a completely different stance of parenting as soon as your child turns into a teenager. Don’t ever do that. Always, be yourself. Teenagers are smart and they know when you’re pretending or trying too hard. So, keep it real.
Don’t be intimidated by them. Apart from slight alterations to your parenting style, it’s wise to remain the same. By doing so, you are also providing a secure, unchanging environment for your teenager. Remember, they’re already going through changes and the last thing they need is you making it obvious.
They still need the “real” parent to be present when they’re having a bad day.
The cold hard truth is that authoritarian parenting works, as long as you aren’t going overboard with it. Good parenting involves striking a fine balance between responsiveness and control. Clear rules must be set. But, at the same time, parents need to make sure that they aren’t stifling the child’s growth.
The idea is to teach accountability and responsibility. Not scare them into submission or go the other way and giving them a free reign over things.
So, be tough when you have to be, but don’t be unreasonable. When you teenager follows the rules, don’t ignore it. Follow it up with encouragement and appreciation.
To put it in a nutshell, give your teenager an inch, but do not let him/her take a mile.
Finally, spend time with your teenager. However, do it at their convenience. You see, teenagers are busy people. So, be thoughtful and adapt to their schedules. There’s nothing wrong with dropping a few hints, but don’t force it.
Also, when you do get the chance, do not miss it for anything in the world. Moments like these are precious.