How to Raise a Teenager?
The adolescence period can be challenging for both teenagers and their parents. This sensitive period is when a child starts to respond to both external and internal changes. They also undergo physical and hormonal changes that can be challenging to handle. A teenager might be scared or unprepared to navigate through these changes and would require guidance from parents. Moreover, peer pressure is high making it difficult to concentrate on all aspects of life. If they are influenced by negative peer pressure, they tend to be rebellious and stubborn making it hard to control them. As a parent, it is your job to offer timely guidance and guide them on the right path. In this article, you can learn about tips on raising a teenager.
Typical Behaviour of Teenagers
Parents can be baffled by the sudden behavior changes in their child and may fret over it. Here is a list of typical teenage behaviors that warrant concern.
- Shunning all social activity
- Spending more time alone
- Refusing to attend school
- Changes in energy levels – sleeping for long hours or change in eating patterns
- Increased sadness or anxiety
- Disregarding rules and regulations
- Harmful behavior, rude towards parents, sibling, and pets
- Risky and delinquent behavior
Problems Faced by Parents to Teenagers
Parents have a hard time seeing their child transition into a teenager and face difficulties embracing the new changes. Some of the common problems faced by parents are as follows.
- Lack of communication
- Newfound independence
- Trusting them without being judgmental
- Risk-taking behavior
- Refusing to follow rules and taking responsibility
- Love and hate relationship
- Focusing on friends rather than family
- Making bad choices
- Being lazy and wistful
How to Parent a Teenager?
Read on more to find out ways in which you can parent a teenager in a positive and an efficient manner.
Show Them Your Love
Teenagers tend to be impulsive and are prone to take decisions quickly they might regret later. Show your kids that you are approachable by being present in their life. Even if you are busy, ensure that you spend time with them each day. For instance, you can have dinner with your children and discuss their day and life after your dinner session. This will instill a sense of peace of mind in them knowing that you care about them.
If you leave early, make them their favorite breakfast or lunch to show your love. You can also leave sweet notes with positive encouragements or you can surprise them by picking them up from school. Also, you can plan your weekends together by doing your favorite activities together such as fishing, dancing, swimming, cooking, and trekking. Never miss the chance to show your love and make yourself easily approachable so that they can share their problems with you without any hesitation. Just be playful, silly, make them smile, and feel cherished.
Set Rules and Expectations - Don't Be Imposing
Every family has a different set of rules and this makes may confuse your teenagers as their friend's family might follow a set of rules that are not followed by them. Make them sit down and gently let them know that each family has its traditions and cultures with different rules. Discuss the rules set in your family and also the expectations in advance with your children. You can categorize these rules into three types – Ground rules, Situational rules, and Dynamic rules.
- Ground rules – these are basic rules that should be followed no matter what happens. For instance, being polite and respectful to everyone around them. Also, to help in household chores to support the family members.
- Situational rules – these are rules that your children should follow when they are outside the house. For instance, inform before going anywhere, courteous behavior at school, and to avoid interacting with strangers both offline and online.
- Dynamic rules – these rules keep on changing as the child grows. For instance, when they are young their privacy might be limited and curfew times might be strict. However, as they grow old they have the right to privacy and their curfew times can be extended as well.
As parents, it is necessary to impose healthy and acceptable rules that are fair for both you and your teenager. Also, refrain from imposing the rules and if they break any rules rather than scolding them understand their situation and point of view before concluding.
Spend Time With Them - Do Activities and Tasks Together
It is important to provide your teens with positive attention to help them cope with difficulties in life. Invest your time and energy to create a quality relationship with them. Rather than fretting over how much time you spend with your kids, it is necessary to concentrate on how much quality time you spend with them.
- Eat your meals together – ensure to have a meal together and also spend time cooking and prepping so that you can have a casual conversation with your children.
- Go into their world – if your teen likes to play video games and loves watching a game join them. Spend time to learn about their hobbies and be involved.
- Do something together – Be it dance, playing games, trekking, singing or walking. Do activities together so that you can spend time with them.
- Volunteer – instill a sense of responsibility and compassion in your teen by volunteering together. You can arrange a bake sale, help elders, or volunteer in shelters.
- Go on long drives – schedule a long drive once in a while and spend time exploring new places.
- Learn a new skill together – It can be gardening, knitting, or learning a new language. Make a list of activities that you want to do with your teen along with their inputs as well.
Involve Them in Decision Making Process
According to experts, problems that occur between parents and teenagers are at times due to the fault of their parents. Parents tend to be the head and decision-makers in their home that at times they ignore the voice of their teenagers. Treat your teenagers as adults by giving them responsibilities that they can handle and respect their decisions. Do not overreact to their mistakes and discuss it amicably.
Create a healthy decision-making model and include them as well. Make them understand the process and allow them to provide their inputs. If their decision is not feasible, make them understand the pros and cons of their thought process. It might be helpful for your teens to offer a few ideas, express their opinions, and voice their concerns. If they are included in the process, they will consider decision-making as a fair process. Give your teens a heads-up about scenarios in which decision-making might be difficult. For instance, stressful situations or when friends are present. Rather than acting based on their emotions, they can think ahead and conclude.
Raising a teenager can be a tedious task at times as this is a significant milestone in their life. Teenagers are notorious for pushing boundaries that can prove to be frustrating. To overcome this issue, you can set appropriate boundaries with your teenagers.
- Exercise empathy – Express your empathy and understand the difficulties faced by them. Empathize with them about their situations and share your stories to make them understand that everything can be overcome.
- Be firm and consistent – Be firm and consistent in setting boundaries. Also, discuss with your teen beforehand so that they can express their opinions. Identify the do’s and dont’s along with your teenager to set realistic expectations.
- Treat them with respect – Treat your teenagers with respect, to earn their respect. They might tend to make poor decisions due to emotions. If a situation arises, never belittle them for their decisions or scold them. Instead, approach them gently and discuss their feeling and why they took that decision. Also, provide your inputs and make them understand.
- Assert your role – Let them know that you are there for them always no matter what happens. Show them your love and attention so that they do not feel ignored.
- Set realistic tasks – If your kid wants to borrow the family car, let them borrow it. Also, make them understand that they have to fill the tank and clean it afterward. This will give them the freedom and independence to handle all situations.
Be Patient and Listen to Their Views
Keep the communication lines open with your teenager and incorporate a few suggestions to communicate with them in a better manner.
- Listen more than you speak – when your teenager wants to talk, listen to them until they stop talking. Do not interrupt when they are talking.
- Grant them privacy – everyone needs their own space to carry out their activities. For instance, knock before entering their room.
- Spend time together
- Do activities together
- Show your love and care
- Boost their self-confidence and self-esteem
- Have fun together
- Celebrate their achievements
- Forgive their mistakes
- Support their activities and good ideas
- Treat them as equals
- Practice what you preach
- Do not judge or criticize
Help Them Stay Focussed
It is the job of parents to help their teenagers stay focused and concentrate on their studies and extracurricular activities.
- Nourish their body – help them to eat healthily and feed them home-cooked meals. Help them stay hydrated by drinking water and fruit juices.
- Refresh their brain – help them learn meditation techniques or any physical activity to remove stress. Also, train them to relieve their stress in a positive manner such as hitting the gym, walking, etc.
- Allow them to take short breaks – advise them to take a break every 20 minutes to walk around and play with their pets.
- Remove external distractions – set a fixed time for using electronic gadgets and ban them while doing homework or studying.
- Step attainable goals and tasks – split a huge task into multiple tasks that will help them to achieve their targets easily.
- Create a reward, or incentive – award them for their good behavior and deeds.
Meet Their Friends and Families - Parental Support Group
It is essential as a parent to meet your teenager’s friends and families to get a better idea of their circle. You can join parental support groups to get various ideas for raising a teenager. Here are a few things you can learn.
- They make you feel less alone – in parental groups, you can interact with similar minds and share your struggles to get the best solution.
- Availability of resources – these groups offer a wealth of information ranging from books, articles, and group meetings.
- A place to find solace – they lend a helping hand and tips to tackle teenage behavior.
- Share triumphs and disappointments - you can share your ups and downs where you can communicate without being judged. Also, this is a place where you can form deep bonds with your child, their friends, and families.
Give Them Responsibility and Make Them Accountable
Teenagers tend to be responsible to the degree that we can support them. Here are a few ways in which you can assign responsibility to them.
- Be clear about the expectations
- Make them do their chores
- Use positive reinforcement to motivate them
- Allow them to make choices
- Reward them if they complete their tasks
- Make them realize the consequences of bad behavior
- Help them, volunteer
- Respect their freedom and individuality
- Do not force your ideas on them
- Help them save and spend wisely
- Teach them the outcomes of hard and fair work
Common Mistakes Made by Parents While Raising a Teenager
According to experts, many of the parents involuntarily ignore their teenagers due to their hectic schedules. Raising good children requires spending adequate time, resources, and investment. However, most parents make common mistakes that makes them less approachable to their teenagers.
- Forcing your expectation on them
- Not respecting their individuality
- Not giving their privacy
- Restricting their freedom with strict rules
- Not practicing what you preach
- Sending mixed signals
- Being impulsive or aggressive towards them
- Not spending enough time with them and making up with money and expensive gifts
- Inconsistency and not setting boundaries
- Fretting over small issues
- Taking care of their problems
- Not allow them to take decisions
Gentle Discipline Works the Best with Teenagers!
Teenagers are adolescents going through a difficult period in their life. They like you to treat them as an adult while not being ready to take all the responsibilities of adulthood. They require you to stay by their side and not lead them. When it comes to discipline, you cannot punish them like they are children. They require gentle guidance from you. Set your limits and rules to follow. While accepting reasonable deviation, not following the rules should end with discipline. The best option is to take away privileges like screen time, game time, curfew time, etc.