The teenage years can present some really confounded issues as the child comes to an age where they stop being little daddy’s girl and try to find their own individuality, and parents can find themselves struggling to understand their child’s new identity. What makes this more challenging for parents is the arbitrary mood swings, rebellion, and influence.
So how does one keep up with a tween as both parent and child go about traversing this new stage in their relationship? We’ve arranged here a quick parents guide for teenagers to help nurture a stronger relationship so the two of you don’t get estranged.
1. Too much/Too little discipline
It is a natural tendency for parents to overact when they see major behavioral changes occurring and there’s also a danger of cracking down too hard when the child steps out of line. Some parents take a different approach and prefer to avoid all conflict in fear of pushing the child away.
As an informed parent you could try to find a balance between the two and learn to respond appropriately when faced with an issue of discipline. Good discipline makes a good foundation but remember the child also needs space to develop leadership and problem-solving skills and micromanagement will get in the way of that.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
If one morning your 14 year old shows up with a scary haircut or dresses gothic, try to remember they are going through a phase and part of this process involves a lot of experimentation. Some of those acts are harmless and shouldn’t get in the way of your relationship. When you look at it more closely, their choice of style and friends is really an expression of what’s going inside.
3. Don’t ignore the big stuff
Freedom shouldn’t be given too freely at this stage. If your son’s room smells of marijuana and he’s suddenly acting strange and won’t talk to people, that’s a pretty big problem. Same goes for alcohol and any other type of drug; it should never be allowed. The combination of teenage hormones and drugs fosters indiscipline and could also delay proper development by encouraging indolence or apathy.
School teachers and parents should work closely to observe teen behavior and encourage positive expression and interaction; that way the child can have a normal healthy experience.
4. Trust your instincts
Don’t read too many parenting books. That cause parents not to trust their own instincts, which is ultimately what’s required to deal with the mountain on issues that come up during teenage years. Don’t stress yourself too much trying to combine ten different parent-advice publications to solve a common problem. In any case, you know your child better than anybody and should be able to figure out what’s going on with them.
Read books to get perspective on behavior and teen psychology but don’t let it define your relationship with your child. Be a learned parent but also remember to be a friend to your child, as that’s the secret to getting them to trust you and open up.
Encourage your child to join sports, music or some other extracurricular that way they can hone skills and engage with their peers as they gradually become self-sufficient.