Parenting is one of the most important jobs you will ever have. Through every stage, there are challenges in addition to seeing each milestone being met. With each stage, these challenges and milestones change and grow along with your child. Once they become a teen while they may feel independent and “adult-ish” they still need rules and guidelines to stay safe and achieve their full potential. There are certain aspects to consider when guiding your teenager to adulthood and enforcing rules without rage.
Respect Your Teens
Respect is one of the most important things your teen needs to learn. Respect for authority, respect for family and friends, and to also treat themselves with respect. This feeling of respect needs to come from the individual and cannot be forced and must start by showing respect to our kids. With all of the hormones pumping and changes in their body, it can be very difficult for them to regulate their emotions but as a parent, we are better able to demonstrate self-control. When emotions are high for teens oftentimes respect for everyone around them can be difficult. Keeping communication open is the key to allowing your teen to talk about their feelings but also keep them open to hearing what you as the parent have to say. Along with this though is making sure your relationship is of a parent not as a friend.
Be Honest with Your Teens
Just like with respect a parent should model honesty. When they were young you could see your child watching you and observing. It may not always seem like your teen is paying any attention to you but they are, and setting a good example is very important. When rules are being set it is a good idea to explain the reasons why you need to set boundaries. Their first reaction to rules might be to think they are unfair but hopefully, with some explanations and honesty, they will be able to see you have their best interest. If lying is becoming habitual it is a good idea to try to find the root cause. Hopefully while growing up your teen has seen the values your family holds dear but there may need to be time to reiterate them.
Listen to What Your Teen is Saying
Listening is a two-way street and the best way to teach good listening is by actually listening to what your teen is trying to tell you. It is easy to appear to be listening but actually just be waiting to jump in and criticize. Another good thing is reflecting on what they are saying to help them become more aware of their own wisdom. Validate what they are telling you. It may not seem important to you but it is to them. You may not agree with everything they say but you can be there to listen. Asking too many questions can feel controlling and lead your teen to lying more. There is a time for correction but you will learn so much…by just listening. The more you listen the more they will tell you.
Safety is a Must For Teens
This is a big one as you want to see your teen achieve adulthood healthy, mentally and physically, and in one piece! Doing so by setting clear and appropriate boundaries with your teen. It also might be necessary at times to monitor what your teen is doing online. Make sure that the understand that anything shared online stays there forever and that nothing is completely private. Of course, you do not want to teach your teen to live in fear but being alert and aware of your surroundings, whether online or out and about is very important. Also, make sure to inform your teen when you expect them to be home when they have been out and why. Some teens might think it is all about your control over them but let them be aware of the dangers of being out at night. Everyone makes mistakes and make sure that your teen knows that you can call them for a ride or to come to help them out if needed.
Keeping a good relationship with your teen is key to keeping them safe, healthy, and with the best chance to reach their full potential. They should know that even though we love to see them grow and spread their wings that they can count on us to look out for their wellbeing. It makes sense to build the kind of relationship where they understand where we as parents are coming from but also, that we listen to their point of view as well. We need to be in control of our own emotions and reactions so they can talk without fear of being judged.
Joy Capps is a homeschool bookworm residing in the mountains of western North Carolina. The only one who loves books more is her 16-year-old daughter. They both enjoy perusing old bookstores for treasures and sniffing books. Her son who is 18 has special needs, is the social butterfly of the family and has never met a stranger. Although she is originally from South Dakota she now calls North Carolina her home and she and her family love exploring the great outdoors. Her family has been homeschooling since 2005.