Parenting Teens: Who Needs You The Most? March 31, 2014 by Brenda Yoder
Parenting teen Adolescence can be a stormy period for teens and a challenging time for parents. But at the same time, it can be very rewarding to see your adolescent become a caring, independent and responsible adult. Use these parenting skills to deal with the challenges of raising a teen.
- Show your love
Our teens still need to hear the words, “I love you.” Even if they roll their eyes or refuse to reply, say it every day. It is important for our teen to know that our love is unconditional and we will always be there for them when they need us even when they are being difficult. Let your actions show your teen you love her. Leave her notes telling her how amazing you think she is. Ruffle his hair or pat his shoulder as you walk by. Make their favorite meals.
- Spend time with your teens
Most parents think that adolescent will need less attention, as they are grown up and able to take care of themselves. However teens actually need parents to be there for them and to advise them. 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. For every time you discipline or correct your teen, try to compliment him or her twice. If your teen doesn’t seem interested in bonding, keep trying. Try to have at least a meal together every day. During this time, everyone has to put away their gadgets, off the TV and talk to each other. Regularly eating meals together might be a good way to connect. Try to do things together. Ask your teen for ideas of what kind of things you and they can do together. On days when you’re having trouble talking to your teen, consider each doing your own thing in the same space. Being near each other could lead to the start of a conversation. You might also encourage your teen to talk to other supportive adults, such as an uncle or older cousin, for guidance.
- Choose your battles wisely
Give your teen some leeway when it comes to clothing and hairstyles. Teens like to dress like their peers. As long as it is decent and appropriate for the events they are attending, please give them some freedom to choose their dressing. Purple hair, hairstyles don’t matter. Although we might not agree with them but it is ok to let them try it. But doing something permenant e.g. tatoos and body piercing is more worrying and we must explained to our teens about our worries.
- 4. Know your teen’s friends
It is good to know your teen’s friends and what kind of people they are. As our kids get older, their friends often hold much more influence over them than we do. You can also advise your teen’s friends if you are worried about the activities they do. If you don’t like any of your teen’s friends, explain to them your worries. If you flatly say, ‘You can’t go out with those kids’, it just increases the antagonism.
- Decide rules and discipline in advance
If it’s a two-parent family, it’s important for both parents to be on the same page. It is also important to set some rules and discuss these rules with your teens before things happen. For example, if you are buying your teen a handphone, please set rules when they can use the handphone and the limitations. Most parents don’t set clear rules and explain the consequences of breaking the rules to their teen. Whether you cut back on their outing times or internet use or whatever, set it in advance. Discuss some basic rules with your teens and the punishment if rules are broken. Then, follow through with the consequences.
- Discuss ‘checking in’
Give teens age-appropriate autonomy, especially if they behave appropriately. But you need to know where they are. Eg if they are going out with their friends, they have to sms you from time to time. When they are younger teens, you can send them to their destinations eg 1 Utama shopping mall and tell them what time you are going to pick them up. If they break the rules, they can be punished by not allowing them out for the next weekend.
- Give teens a game plan
Teens usually don’t think of the consequences of their actions due to their immature brains. Give scenarios to your teens and help them figure out how to handle a potentially unsafe situation, yet save face. Come up with a solution that feels comfortable for your teen. For eg if they don’t feel safe at a party, they can pretend they are ill and call you to pick them up.
- Keep the door open
Don’t interrogate, but act interested. Share a few tidbits about your own day; ask about theirs. How was the concert? How was the date? How was your day? Another good line: “You may not feel like talking about what happened right now. I know what that’s like. But if you feel like talking about it later, you can come to me.
- Let kids feel guilty
Feeling good about yourself is healthy. But people should feel bad if they have hurt someone or done something wrong. Kids need to feel bad sometimes. Guilt is a healthy emotion. When kids have done something wrong, we hope they feel bad, we hope they feel guilty and we have to teach them to apologize.
- Be a role model
Your actions, even more than your words are critical in helping teens adopt good moral and ethical standards. If they have a good role model from early on, they will be less likely to make bad decisions in their rebellious teen years. Eg, if you smoke and drink, it will be difficult for you to stop them from trying smoking and drinking.
- Respect their struggles
Sometimes those things our teens are struggling with seem so insignificant in comparison to our adult struggles, but it’s all a matter of perspective. Their struggles are very real and very important to them. Remind yourself, when your child is stressing about something that seems trivial to you, that it’s not trivial to them. Respect what they’re going through.
- Give them space
Sometimes teens just need some space, some quiet time alone to think, read, play music, whatever. Make sure they’ve got somewhere they can go to be alone when they need to be. If you have kids who share a bedroom, you may need to put some ground rules in place for siblings.
- Remember that they’re still kids
They may look like adults, be facing adult decisions, and, at least part of the time, act like adults, but they aren’t adults yet. Keep that in mind when they make foolish decisions, act immature, or just need your reassurance.
- Encourage their interests
Give your teens a chance to explore their interests. Whenever possible, let them take classes or get involved in their church and community. The teen years are a time of figuring out their gifts and talents and how those are going to factor into their future. Let your kids dream big..
- Give them responsibilities
Giving our teens responsibilities will make them feel important. Teens really need to feel like they have something worthwhile to contribute to their family’s well being. Teach them the skills they’ll need in future eg, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and managing their money.
- Hug them
Teens still need physical affection, too. Just maybe not in front of their friends. They might not want a full bear hug like when they were 5, but keep the physical touch going. A pat on the back for a job well done, ruffling their hair or gently squeezing their arm can go a long way.
- Let them suffer the consequences
Sometimes teens make poor choices and it’s hard, as a parent, to watch them suffer the consequences. However, sometimes suffering those consequences is a very important part of learning and growing into an adult. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re a terrible parent if you don’t bail your kid out every time he/she makes a mistake.
- Don’t give them everything
We want to make our kids happy, but giving them everything doesn’t make them happy. It only creates a sense of entitlement, something that is far too prevalent in today’s culture.
- Respect their privacy
Teens can become very self-conscious creatures. Don’t post their photos on Facebook or your blog without asking first. Knock on their door. Don’t expect them to tell you everything.
- kidshealth.org › Parents guide to surviving the teen years
- Ways to show your teen you are thankful for them. Kris Bales
|Last Reviewed||:||19 Nov 2015|
|Writer||:||Dr. hargeet Kaur a/p Basant Singh|
|Accreditor||:||Dr. Nazrila Hairin binti Nasir|