9 Tips for Raising Teenagers
No one prepares you for parenting. There isn't a manual that they give you when that little bundle of joy is placed in your arms. I thought that the baby/toddler stage was going to be the most difficult one, but the teenage years...oh boy!
Here are a few key tips to raising teenagers
1. This Too Shall Pass
Even when you think they are not hearing you, there is a space that is deep down that is relieved you are looking out for them. They still need your attention and acknowledgement. They may want more space, but they still want you to pursue them. Don't let your hurt feelings get in the way from you doing it. This phase does pass.
2. Let your Love Show
Remember all that love and affection they needed when they where younger? They still need now, just in a different way. Loving your child means you need to find ways to express your love through actions and words. Don't leave your teen wondering where you stand with them. This can be said with any relationship. We all need to know that we are loved. It really is the little things that matter most.
3. Don't Talk at Your Teens
All day they are being lectured by adults. It's exhausting for teens and causes them to tune you out. Recognize that fatigue is there. When disciplining or giving your teens advice, talk to them as adults. Sometimes you have to take a step back and think before you speak to them. Berating them with commands and statements that belittle them leads to tune out and shut down. Teenagers are in the process of becoming adults and we need to let them make mistakes. Sometimes they have to fail to learn. Even with their sense of style!
4. Remember to Listen
This statement goes hand in hand with the one above. Few adults respect and listen to teens. When you listen to your teen, they feel empowered, they feel they have a voice and are validated.
5. Reinforce Family Standards
Children aren't born knowing right from wrong. As they get older, teens face pressure to abandon or want to experiment outside the moral standards given to them when they where younger. It's not only important to remind them of what they were taught in their younger years, but also give them practical reasons as to why there are boundaries. Don't be afraid to be the bad guy or be called strict. They may actually be thanking you internally. I often tell my kiddos to make me the bad guy that way there is less stress and pressure on them.
6. Get to Know Their Friends
Teens want to choose their friends. Ask them questions about them and listen. Try to get to know their friends. Create an environment at your house that makes other kids want to gather there. Get to know their friends parents. Now there will be those kids that maybe aren't the best peers to be around, but, unless your teen is in danger, let it ride. Talk to them about your concerns. Try using the saying "you are known by the company you keep".
7. Offer Wisdom
Being a parent we've been there and done that (benefits of living longer than our teenagers!). They probably will never admit that you where right or that they don't know everything. However, you are a source of wisdom that they need. Speaking from experience, there will come a time that they'll say you know what mom/dad "you were right".
8. Help Them Stay Focused
Help them find the balance between enjoying the here and now and looking forward to the future. Teach them the joy of delayed gratification. Everything isn't about Friday night football games, Homecoming or Senior Prom. In order for the future to happen the way they envision it, they need to be present and focused on their studies.
9. Take Them on an Adventure
Take a moment to break away from the every day and get your teenager out one on one. Try doing something adventurous together: zip lining, camping, kayaking, or on a trip! Experiencing something new together will strengthen your bond and create lifelong memories.
Parenting teenagers is not an easy task. We all stumble from time to time, but most importantly, get back up and keep guiding your teenager through their childhood. Remember, they are only little for a little.