Teenage years are a phase in life that every parent has to deal with. But there’s a reason why most parents dread this phase. It requires patience, and challenges every instinct people have to be nurturing. As intimidating as this milestone may seem, it’s not impossible to be a good parent when your kids transition through adolescence. The Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research advises that “Positive attention is a must for teens. Spend time with your teen to show him or her that you care. Listen to your teen when he or she talks, and respect your teen's feelings… Teens tend to live up or down to parental expectations, so set your expectations high.” Here are a few tips on how to practice good parenting with teens:
1. Prepare for Change:
Teenage years are a time of significant transformation in kids. As painful as it is to imagine that your child will lose their innocence, don’t fight against the natural progression of their maturity. Encourage them to grow in a disciplined way.
2. Encourage their Growth:
Permanently treating adolescents as if they’re children stunts their emotional development. Teenage years are a perfect opportunity to teach kids how to be responsible and think for themselves. The closer they get to adulthood, the more you should empower them to make independent choices.
3. Lead the Cheering Squad:
One of the easiest ways to connect with your teenage kids is to offer genuine support for their dreams and interests. If you know they have specific talents, create space for them to pursue these talents. When you actively participate in their lives, it allows you to bond on a personal level.
4. Channel Your Inner Diplomat:
Dealing with teenagers isn’t always going to be a walk in the park. Hormones and peer pressure tend to set the stage for confrontations. As a parent, you should always be prepared for unexpected quarrels if you have any teenagers in your home. Sharpen your conflict-resolution skills and remember to be the adult in every situation.
There’s no question that parenting is a big responsibility. It’s especially intimidating if you only choose to focus on the big picture. Sometimes it helps to take things one day at a time, and one step at a time. Remember to adapt yourself to the fact that your kids are going through a major life-change. Success will take time, but it’s possible when you keep an open mind.