Dealing with teenagers can be quite challenging at times. Although we may look at them and see an adult-sized person, the transition from child to grown-up is far from complete. While dealing with teenager, it is important to remember that they are individuals. Not every approach will work with every teen; you know your child best, so trust your instincts and, above all, be patient, even when they are less than pleasant with you.
Here are some important things to do when you are dealing with teenagers:
DO Stop and Listen
Many teens complain that their parents do a lot of talking and very little listening. Make sure that you give your child a chance to say his or her piece before spouting off about how they should handle a situation. Try to understand the situation from his or her perspective. Blaming and accusing only builds up more walls and ends all communication. Show that you care and show your love.
DO Keep your door Open
You know you’ll be there for them no matter what, but do they? Create an open environment wherein all family members can feel free to discuss what’s on their mind without fear of being judged. Talk with your teen on a regular basis about everything that is going on in their lives. Communication is important in every type of relationship and the parent-child relationship is not excluded from this rule of thumb. We can’t guide our children through all aspects of life, but we can be on-call for support. Let your teen learn from their own mistakes and make sure you’re there to talk about whatever is on their minds when they are ready to talk.
Here are some important things not to do when dealing with teenagers:
While you may have the wisdom of age and experience, don’t forget that an essential process along the journey to adulthood is choosing your own paths and learning to overcome mistakes. Be sure not to dictate to your child what they should or should not do. If they come to you with a situation, be there to guide them through any difficult life choices, but resist any assumption that you ‘know best’. In particular, avoid using patronizing language, such as saying anything along the lines of ‘When I was your age…’ If you do this you’ll sound like an annoying old nag; in which case, how will your advice sound relevant to them? This step can be hard for many parents and you may have to bite your tongue, but with some gentle guidance, your child just may rise to the occasion and surprise you with some great decisions.
Don’t Try To Change Them
Fredrick Douglas once said “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Remember that your teenager is a unique individual that is at an advanced stage of personal development. The teenage years can be very confusing — dealing with peer issues, and self-discovery. If you push to change them and push to mold them into someone they aren’t, this will just add to their confusion. Accept your teen for who they are, and celebrate their personalities, their uniqueness and their interests rather than overlooking them or mocking them.
Don’t Forget About Consistency
Being consistent in your parenting strategies is important. When laying down the rules and the punishments for breaking the rules, it is important to not send your teenager mixed signals. Believe it or not, your teenager will appreciate your rules and your consistency and they will know what to expect from certain actions. You can actually let your teenager help make house rules and set consequences.
Dealing with teenagers takes a tough skin, a willingness to be vulnerable and lots of love. You will make mistakes but whatever you do, don’t ever stop talking. Getting teenagers to talk honestly about what’s going on with them is very important and always the key to having a healthy parent teen relationship.
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