Practical Strategies to Parent a Teenager
The teenage years are a challenging time both for the child and the parent. But, it does not mean that it is impossible to conquer. Being on the same page with your teenager helps to build a harmonious relationship. Here are some ways that a parent can try to make these years enjoyable for their child.
Create a Strong Foundation
Your child needs to have somewhere, to begin with. This will help them navigate through their teenage years. It will determine how they make their decisions. One way for you to be confident about their choices is to choose a decent high school.
You will have the assurance that they are getting a quality education and life skills. Also, you do not have to worry about the company they keep. When these elements are present, you have the assurance that you can ease your hold a bit.
Open the Communication Lines
One of the challenges of teenage life is the big emotions that they feel. A common mistake of parents with teens is to censor such emotions. In turn, the child learns not to share what they feel or think because they fear rejection.
Help your child understand the changes this phase brings. Be a patient listener. Do not always jump at what they say. Help them process their thoughts, emotions, and situations. When they know they can trust you with these things, they would not turn to others for counsel.
Always Give Quality Time
One of the things that never changes from childhood to teenage years is their need for your time. Being a teenager does not mean that you should spend lesser time with them. They may have a new set of interests than when they were young. But, they would appreciate it if you can join them as they explore such interests. Attend sports games that they have participated in. Spend an afternoon with them and listen to songs that they think are good. Another effective way to have quality time is to share meals at home.
The key here is not to smother them, too. There are different dynamics as a teenager. They may not appreciate you tagging along with them all the time. Let them have their alone time also.
Choose Your Battles
The teenage years do not have to be a power struggle between you and your child. Not everything should be a point of discussion. Check if the issue at hand is worth all the energy and time for an argument. Examples of things that you can let go of are their inability to always keep their room clean. Also, do not make it a big fuss with the way they want to cut their hair. As long as these do not go against any rules, you can let it pass. You would not want your child to feel that you are against every move they make.
Have Clear Boundaries
You may desire to be your child’s friend in this phase of their lives. Nothing is wrong with that. But, they need you to be a parent first. Teach them early on about accountability. Let them know that they alone are responsible for their actions and decisions. You can emphasize this by setting clear boundaries. They will know that certain actions have dire consequences.
Parenting a teenager may not be a walk in the park. But, using the right strategies will produce a person you can be proud of. Plus, you will have a healthy relationship with your teen.