Being a parent is not an easy task. You were able to surpass changing diapers at two in the morning and live through your children’s multiple tantrums. Raising children was survivable. So why is dealing with teens so much more difficult? Well, it shouldn’t be, and it wouldn’t be if you know the best strategies for positive parenting!
First off, you need to understand that the teen years are your children’s time for growth and a time when their desire to discover things is crucial to them, sometimes more than you realize. It’s a time when they’re dealing with the changes in their physical, emotional, and intellectual state and they think it’s their right or responsibility to cope with it on their own.
So, what can you do to help your teen bloom into the beautiful person they’re meant to become? Here are a few suggestions that could help you get on the right track of positive parenting your teen:
- Expect the unexpected. You can successfully win battles when you’ve prepared enough for it. Funny as it sounds, but it’s the same thing in parenting your teens. When you educate yourself by reading books about teenagers, you learn more about what you would need to cope with once your child is in that stage of his or her life.
- Start talking to them early and often.
- Prepare for the worst and most awkward questions. Children are very curious about a lot of things in their early years. They may ask what menstruation is, or maybe even how they were born. And you would need to prepare an answer that they would understand while not being overloaded with information. Before their teen years, talk to them about risks as well, such as drugs, alcohol, and make them understand why bad things could happen when involved in such things.
- Establishing regular family bonding. May it be over dinner, hanging out by the park, or taking a walk, little chitchats with them help build communication and trust. This could even be a regular family meeting, where each of you can talk about anything, from a crush, an exam, a new friend, or the big ones such as a family financial problem. Involving everyone would help all of you become good listeners and create an atmosphere of openness and acceptance.
- You are not just a parent; you should also be a friend. The number one thing that teens want is being understood and accepted. Sadly, some teens feel that they don’t find that at home. This leads them to try to find it outside – may it be from their friends, a special boy (or girl), or from people who share the same opinion with them. Thus, it is important to form not just a parent-child relationship with them but build an everlasting friendship as well.
- What if my child loses respect for me? Do not be afraid, because a good friend would cherish you with trust and respect. On your part, never interrogate but always show your genuine interest in their daily life. Show that you respect their privacy as long as you know how they’re doing, where they are and who they’re with. You’ll soon realize that they’re doing the same.
- Where do I draw the line between being a parent and a friend? A good friend won’t tolerate wrong actions. It is the same with your teen. You will love them unconditionally, but you would also need to set boundaries as a loving parent. And no matter how much you want to spoil them, you’d need to learn to say No.
- Establish reasonable standards and expectations. Teens, more often than not, go about living to meet the standards and expectations that you have long presented before them. So, you need to help them understand that those are for their own well-being.
- Set rules and let them know the consequences of their actions. Raising children with discipline is never about punishing or controlling them. It’s about teaching them what and why things are right and wrong but having the freedom to choose for themselves.
- Create agreements. Come to terms with your teen on what would be the consequence or punishment if a rule is disobeyed. Be reasonable when you correct their mistakes. And as what some parents forget, chastise what your teen had done, not your teen.
- Never focus on the number or the level of success. Do not put pressure on your teen. There’s a difference between wanting them to do good at sports and being the best player in the team. There’s a difference between asking why they got an 80 in one subject and seeing that they got a 95 in everything except that subject.
- No matter how busy you are, make time and show your love for them. For some parents, this may be difficult with their working schedule. And most often than not, it creates a distance between parent and child which may result in the difficulty of reaching out to each other in the future.
However, everyone has twenty-hours each day. If you’re busy during working hours and would only be free during dinner, make sure to be physically and mentally present then. Or maybe you can wake up an hour before preparing for work, or spare an hour before going to bed, to talk to your children and let them know you love them.
Raising children and helping them through their teen years won’t always be easy. Strategic positive parenting can help you handle your current situation with them. But what you always need to remember, is that teens would have trouble opening up. So, if they try to talk to you about something, notice it and listen to them. If they admit to being a bit different from other teens, accept them. If they confide in you with their mistakes, continue to love them and never give up on them.