Raising teens poses challenges that many are not ready for. While teenagers aren’t children anymore, they aren’t adults yet, either. While they explore and discover new things throughout their high school years, you may wonder how to navigate this phase of your child’s life. Let’s discuss some things you should know about raising teens.
Trust Goes Both Ways
Create a safe conversation space and navigate your teen’s troubles with guidance and support. Allow your teen to talk to you about anything without judgment and listen intentively to what they are saying (or not in some cases).
Having an open line of communication works both ways. Don’t hide things from your teen that affect them, if possible. Provide a safe and relaxed environment where your teen likes to be their authentic selves without negative backlash. Trust is the foundation of any good relationship, including your bond with your teenager. Be respectful and ensure their feelings are validated even when you disagree.
Having an open and honest dialogue and spending more time with your teen will help them feel like they come to you with anything. When teens feel they can trust you, they will likely ask you for help and advice. Don’t go through their stuff unless you have a reason to– this can hurt your teenager by feeling like you don’t trust them. If you have concerns, try talking to them first.
They Aren’t Adults Yet
While teens aren’t necessarily children anymore, they are still your children. They still need guidance, direction and purpose. They may not require you to remind them of personal or oral hygiene, but they still need you to give them advice and money.
While you may encourage their independence, they still need you for things. It will be relatively simple to grow accustomed to their freedom as teenagers, especially after they get their driver’s license and you no longer have to drive them places.
However, you must remember that they aren’t quite adults yet. While it’s nice to be needed, you can get ahead and put too much on your teen’s plate when you haven’t required as much anymore. Teenagers should know how to prioritize and learn the typical rigamarole of life and responsibilities.
However, just because your teen can handle all of these things doesn’t mean they should have to just yet. You are their provider, their voice of reason and their home. Relish in that, and don’t overload their plate.
Be as consistent as possible with their discipline and the rules you enforce. Consistency will help them know what to expect and will also earn you respect. Your teen should clearly understand what is accepted and what will result in consequences. Set a good example for them by setting your own goals and boundaries for your life. They aren’t adults yet and they are still watching you.
They Need Healthy Boundaries
Teenagers may not like limits or boundaries, but they are essential to their growth and success. Limitations during high school and prioritizing responsibilities will likely make your teens more successful and organized adults.
Your teen should understand that the limitations you impose on them are for their protection and not to restrict them. Boundaries can help teens feel safe and supported throughout the most uncertain years of their life. Teens like setting boundaries because they want to protect their space and privacy while they discover their sense of self.
Guidelines for how they prioritize their time are an excellent example of healthy boundaries you can set for your teen. For example, they must complete their chores before going out with their friends. Their homework is to be done before they can engage in social activities or browse social media sites.
Stay calm and avoid power struggles when they lash out and call you unfair when they get frustrated. Instead of engaging in conflict with your teen, try to offer helpful solutions to their problems. Allow them to face the natural consequence of their actions while providing support while they go through them. Lessons about responsibility can be tough to watch your child experience, but they need to learn these lessons. You can’t hold their hand forever–they must learn the hard way for it to sink in sometimes.
Reflect on what it was like for you when you were their age. What did your parents do that you wish they had done differently? Modify your boundaries to match your child’s needs as they progress and develop.
Raising Teens 101
Raising teens can be frustrating, but it can also be highly gratifying. You can see your child blossom into an almost full-grown version of who they want to be. The rollercoaster ride of the teenage years can feel like a whirlwind, so do your best to cherish these years as they happen. You can never get them back.
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