Being a parent to a teenager is often described as one of the more difficult periods of parenting, and that can be for many reasons. Your children develop, and when they get to their teenage years, they’re facing a lot of problems in life that they’ve never seen before. People see them as more of an adult, so they have more responsibilities, they face a lot more emotions, and hormones are running wild – you have to keep these things in mind when you talk to them. Teenagers can be unpredictable, and oftentimes you’ll notice that you’re seeing a side to them that you’ve never seen before.
Not being too strict
As a parent, you need to set boundaries, but you should also keep in mind that your children need their own space – especially teenagers. They need freedom, and being too strict on them is only going to force them into finding ways around it. You can’t control everything, so you should learn to let things go once in a while.
Sure, it’s fine to know when to say no to your kids, but you should also learn that it’s fine to say yes, so long as you know what’s going on. Parents say no to keep their children safe, and while that’s important, teenagers are coming to the point where they’re old enough to know what they want. It could be something big like a nose piercing, or something small like the idea of spending the evening at a friend’s place. Know where to say yes, and when to say no – but not learning when to say yes is only going to push your teen away from you.
If there’s any period of time where your children should be expressing themselves, it’s their teenage years. For some people, it can be difficult to come out of their shells, and they need a little push in the right direction. As a parent, you should show them how to embrace the things they like, and be sure that you can give them confidence in it.
You should always try to be supportive of what your kids like and want to do, and you should recognize that it’s sometimes a sensitive area to work with. It can be difficult to communicate feelings when it comes to disagreements, but making sure to consider their feelings when you approach them over their interests is a must.
Don’t supervise them too much
Just the same as being too strict, you should make sure that you give them the freedom and privacy that they need. That’s not to say you should let them do whatever you want whenever you want, but knowing that they need at least some privacy and freedom is very important when it comes to maintaining a positive relationship with them.
You can’t expect your kids to tell you everything, even if you really want to be a part of it – they’re going to want some space from you at some point in their life.
If you try too hard to restrict their privacy, it’s likely going to give them a reason to become good at lying and hiding things from you, which is the last thing you want. You cannot restrict them from their needs, and they will find a way to get it one way or another – it’s only natural, even if you’re only doing it to protect them.
A lot of parents struggle with their children during their teenage years, and they feel like their teenagers can be quite emotional or argumentative. You need to be the bigger person in these scenarios and know when to step down from an argument. It can instead be helpful if you’re understanding of their issues and don’t force them away when they’re having a difficult time with things. If you want to keep a close bond with your teenage children, you need to make sure they see you as someone they can go to when they have a problem – not someone who is going to reprimand or lecture them.
Make time for them
Parents to children of all ages need to make sure that they have time for their kids, teenagers or not. Bonding is an essential part of their development, as you’re the main person they’re going to learn from. It’s up to you to teach them how to behave, how to act in certain scenarios, and how to view the world. Of course, there’s only so much of an influence you can have on them, they’re going to be their person – but you play a big part in modeling their life.
It doesn’t have to be something huge, but having some planned time together can be a great way to bond now and then. A movie night once a week, an activity that you both do together, video games, anything! Learn to take part in their interests, you can’t always expect them to come to you. A lot of parents struggle to connect with their teens, as they can never find something that they would be interested in. Talk to them, figure out what they want to do, and what would be willing to do with you.
Remember to push them
The teen years are some of the most defining and important years of anyone’s lives, and it’s important to make sure that your teens are pointed in the right direction. Like any time in their life, it’s healthy to try and encourage them to do things that might benefit them. Whether it’s activities that they might find fun, paths in life that will help them later on.
It’s important to consider that if you haven’t connected well with your teen, it’s going to be difficult to push them in a direction that will benefit them. Sure, a promising career in a high-paying job sounds great, but if they hate that job it won’t be worth so much in the long run. No one wants to be stuck in a career that they have no passion for.