If you have a teenager, you know that this can be a very difficult time. Raising a teenager is never easy, no matter what others may have told you. For some parents, it can seem impossible to steer a teenager on a good path. There are so many things to consider and deal with that you may feel as if you will never make it through the teen years. This is a dangerous times for your teenager and your influence is critical as he or she begins to deal with peer pressure and other aspects outside of your control.
Understanding your teen is critical and there are a number of ways that you can deal with what your teenager is going through during this difficult period.
You will need to give your teen a little space. Teenagers need to learn how to stand on their own. This means that you should give your teen a bit of room to explore the new world around him. Allowing him a little room to make his own decisions (and his own mistakes) will help him to become more independent. Of course, this does not mean that you should not keep an eye on what is going on. While you want to guide your teenager down the right paths, you do not want to let them go it completely alone. Give gentle encouragement and support without being overbearing.
You have certainly heard the phrase “choose your battles”. This is certainly no truer than when it comes to raising a teenager. You will always have a battle. There will always be something that your teenager does not agree with and you will undoubtedly have arguments. Choose your battles wisely. It is not necessary to gauge an all-out war over every tiny little thing. If your daughter wants to color her hair some bold or wild color, keep in mind that she will likely want to color it back to a normal hue sometime in the near future. Of course, if it comes down to something that cannot be changed such as getting a tattoo, then you may want to battle it out.
Know who your teenagers are spending their time with. Many parents experience anxiety because they fear their children’s friends and the influence that those friends have on their child. Invite your teenager’s friends to your home. Get to know them. This gives you an idea of who has an influence on your child and lets you know which of your child’s friends if any, should not be in their lives. Many parents judge their teens’ friends without actually knowing them. Get to know the people that your teenager hangs out with and make a decision based on their actual personality as opposed to what you think you know about them.
Set rules and boundaries and stick to them. You should never be afraid to discipline your child, even if that child is a teenager. Your child will need rules in place to ensure that he does not go off and do something that could tarnish his reputation or scar his life. When he breaks a rule, he should be disciplined. Talk to your child about the rules and what the consequences will be if a rule is broken. You have to have good communication and ensure that you know what is going on while also giving your child a bit of room to grow.
Talk to your teenager about the risks that kids today face. Don’t just shove a pamphlet in front of her and expect her to know where you stand. Have an honest conversation about things that worry you and get her input. Let her know that she can talk to you at any time and about anything. By teaching your teenager how to deal with risks, you are showing her that you trust her to make her own decisions while still giving her gentle guidance to help her deal with peer pressure and other difficulties that teens face. You are a role model for your child from birth until you are gone. Be a good role model. Don’t do anything that you would not allow your teenager to do. Choose your words carefully and treat your child like the individual that he is. Remember that your words and actions will influence your child more than friends, peer pressure or any other aspect that he faces.