Navigating the path of adolescence is often difficult and confusing for teens and their parents. Though these pre-adult years are admittedly challenging and are the hardest for parents, there are skills you can employ to nurture your teen into a responsible and caring adult. Leverage these tips to deal with the difficulties of parenting a teen.
Put Love into Practice
You can tell a 7-year-old you love them and they will believe you hook, line and sinker. But a teenager who is growing into the cusps of adulthood will want your actions to match your words. Teens appreciate positive attention as much as an adult does. Spend quality time with them and listen when they talk. Do not undermine their feelings or opinions even if you think it is not far from ridiculous.
They may act like they need their space, but a little motherly intrusion now and then will light up their face. Don’t just suffocate them with unnecessary attention or invade their privacy, as things can go downhill really fast. Also, note that showering your teen with attention isn’t the liberty to cast discipline aside. You can criticize and correct in tune to the specific behavior rather than making hurtful comments about their personality.
Don’t Relegate Rules to the Background
In a bid to act the “cool mom”, some moms take setting rules and consequences lightly. You should understand that going “easy” on your teen won’t make them love you more or obey your every demand. Instead, it breeds disrespect and shatters boundaries. Also, executing discipline isn’t the same as meting out punishment. If you want your teen to conduct themselves properly, set and discuss acceptable behaviors and enact reasonable penalties for breach of conduct. Avoid setting rules that are impossibly hard to follow and always explain your decisions so that they can understand that mom is being strict for their good.
Be Willing to Negotiate
You shouldn’t always be ready to enforce penalties at a drop of a hat. Sometimes, negotiate! This doesn’t mean you should completely let them off the hook. You can make the penalty less harsh or let them go on conditions. However, these negotiations should be restricted to things like homework and bedtime. You shouldn’t compromise or falter when it comes to safety rules. Things like substance abuse and staying out way past their curfew is intolerable — make sure they understand you won’t go easy on the rules here.
Avoid Setting Unreasonable Expectations
Don’t hold your teen to unreasonable parental expectations as this can damage their self-will and esteem. Instead of prioritizing achievements, focus on personality. Don’t expect your kid to be at the top of their class always or be the best player in their football team. Rather groom them to be kind, considerate, and responsible adults. Express your displeasure more when they display unacceptable personality behavior, not when they fail to be the top scorer in the class.
Give your teen free rein to set standards for themselves. Getting them to accomplish things they held themselves accountable for is guaranteed to make them confident adults. Support them when they set out to accomplish a task and encourage them when they lose their footing.
Lead by Example
Whether you know it or not, teens look up to their parents more than they admit. They watch your every behavior and are inclined to replicate them. You may not notice when their eyes are trained on you, but strive to behave appropriately at all times. Yes, you are not perfect but you can do the bare minimum, like practicing honesty, respect, gratitude, and love. What is that saying again “practice what you preach” — your teen will obey you more if they see you doing what you instruct them to do. But if you say “don’t lie” and you are always lying to all and sundry, they’d do the same too.
Remember that no matter how many parenting teens blogs you read, your teen will only be as responsible as you make them be. So, strive to put these skills and tips into action!