10 Things to Remember about Raising a Teenager.
1. Despite the distance or tension, your child is still there.
Even when your teen is dismissing you, there is a place deep down that is relieved that you are there looking out for them. They expect this. They may not thank you for what you do but they see you doing it. They may want more space, but they still want you to pursue them. Don’t let your hurt feelings stop you from doing it or pride.
2. Show your teen Love
All the love and affection they needed when they were younger they still need now. Loving your kid means you need to find ways to express your love through your actions and words. Don’t leave your teen wondering where you stand with them. They may reject you, but be persistant, just like their toddler years, they are experiencing difficulty in expressing themselves.
3. Decrease the Nagging and dont ask Answer-Questions.
I realize this may seem contradictory but your teen knows what they need to do (i.e. eat, HW, sleep, etc). There is no need to remind your teen of daily musts every day. You can find a way to inquire without nagging. An Answer-Question is a question that already has the answer in it. For example, “Don’t you think that girl is mean?” or, “Do you think you should do something about that very important extra-credit assignment?” SAnswer-Questions drive teens crazy because it makes them feel like parents are belittling their opinions.
4. Don’t talk at your teens and make sure you listen
All day they are being lectured by adults. It’s exhausting for teens. When disciplining or giving your teens advice, talk to them as adults but also keep in mind that they are kids and their frontal lobe is not fully developed. Also, keep it clear and concise. When you listen to your teen, they feel empowered. They feel that they have a voice. Let your teen talk and then summarize what they have just shared with you. Sometimes teens are passionate and raise their voice a tad, don't take it personal. Being a teen is tough!
5. Remember to listen.
This statement ties in with the one above. Few adults respect and listen to teens. When you listen to your teen, they feel empowered. They feel that they have a voice. Let your teen talk and then summarize what they have just shared with you. Sometimes teens are passionate and raise their voice a tad, don't take it personal. Being a teen is tough! They might roll their eyes but they are listening. Don't let the eye rolling fool you!
6. DO NOT Compare!
Whenever a parent starts a sentence with, “Why can’t you be more like…” teens automatically cringe. Fill in the blank with perfect best friend, older sibling or a younger, more obedient version of Mom. Many parents don’t realize that comparing teens to others makes them feel bad about themsevles and sends the message that they should be less like themselves and more like someone else. In addition, DO NOT compare your adolescence to theirs. Yes, you were a teen once upon a time but not a teen that deals with social media pressure, friendships involving posts, extremely competetive colleges, etc. It is highly different eras and you CANNOT compare. This will drive your teen insane!!
7. Get to know their friends and respect when friendships end.
Teens want to choose their friends. Ask them questions about them and listen...without judgement. Try to get to know their friends. Create an environment at your house that makes other kids wants to gather there. Get to know their friends’ parents and family. High School friendships are like roller coasters, up an down. When their friends disapprove or teens feel socially rejected it can feel worse than a punch in the gut. So have patience with their obsession with friends and help them find great ones and balance social time with family time, work time and alone time. FOR TEENS, THEIR FRIENDS ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!
8. Offer wisdom.
You automatically have a gift of wisdom because you lived longer than your teenagers. They probably will never admit that you were right or that they don’t know everything. However, you are a source of wisdom they need. Share, they may roll their eyes or say something negative, but they are listening and processing what you shared.
9. Help them stay focused.
Help them find a balance between enjoying the immediate and looking towards the future. It’s easy to forget the consequences of our current choices. Teach them the joy of delayed gratification. Everything isn’t about the Friday night football games or Senior Prom.
10. Take them on an adventure.
Nothing earns the right with a teenager like doing something adventurous together. Take them to a high ropes course, go camping or whitewater rafting. Taking them out of their comfort zone and yours will increase their bond with you. If you have other kids, make it a "parent and teen only date".