Parenting itself is one of the hardest jobs out there. However, parenting a teen, much like a video game, is the final level, and is agreed by many to be the most difficult. It’s an age of testing boundaries, and coming into your own throughout the transition between childhood and adulthood.
However, many parents, despite having once been teenagers themselves, aren’t ready for their once innocent children now to be hard-headed adolescents. In some extreme situations, parents may even find themselves with out-of-control teens, to the point of having to turn to the police for help.
However, parenting a teen doesn’t have to be hard if you know the right tips and tricks. We never said it was going to be easy, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. To help you through the challenges of parenting teens, here’s everything you need to know.
It’s a Significant Transition
Teens are going through a significant metamorphosis at this point in their life, from the way that they think to the way that they feel, to the way that they look— it’s a huge developmental stage and important for their adulthood. Believe it or not, all of that rebelliousness is actually a healthy and normal part of coming into their adulthood.
They’re learning to test out their limits, and in order to do that, they have to push the envelope once in a while. It’s up to you to help guide them and show them where the limits are. Be supportive yet firm, and show them rather than push them.
The more understanding you are with them, the more they’ll trust you. Trust is critical during the teen years and an important part of building a healthy relationship.
Communication is Critical
Communication is an important part of maintaining our relationship with everyone in your life, regardless of their age. However, communicating with your teenager is especially important, since it’s up to you to show them how to express themselves. Create an environment that fosters open communication between the two of you. Even if this means forcing them to sit down and talk things out, the more of a positive example you set for how to communicate, the more likely they are to be strong communicators as adults.
Explain Your Expectations
One of the biggest mistakes that parents of teens make is explaining expectations too late. They only express their dissatisfaction after their teenager has done something they don’t like, rather than clearly defining their expectations and boundaries ahead of time.
Failing to spell things out in advance is setting your team up for failure. Be explicit about what it is you expect from them, and explain to them what the consequences will be if they don’t comply. This will make your life easier and also encourage a sense of responsibility and respect for the rules.