Parenting is never really easy despite how hard you try and set your child up for a bright future. However, it does seem to become a lot more difficult when your darling children turn into moody teenagers. Of course, the teenage years can be a whole lot of fun. Plus, it’s important to embrace them, since your kids just might “leave the nest” in the next few years. Even though it’s definitely hard work, parenting teenagers does not have to be a nightmare. It’s just important to understand the issues that you might face and to look for ways to solve problems and guide your teens in the best way possible.
New Milestones, New Worries
One reason why the teenage years can be so tough for parents is that they find themselves facing new challenges constantly. This is an age group where your kids are probably hitting a lot of milestones. Starting middle school and then starting high school can bring forth a lot of changes. Going to a first school dance or having a first boyfriend or girlfriend can bring forth a lot of excitement but can leave you with a lot of concerns as well. The same is true when your teen starts driving.
With all of these worries, it can be challenging to really accept and celebrate the milestones that your teens are hitting. However, it is important to be as encouraging as possible while your teens are going through these things. Now is not the time to shut your kids out or to avoid talking about tough things. Instead, now is the time focus on communication more than ever.
For example, if your teen is dating someone new, it might be easy to want to hide under a rock so that you don’t have to face it. It’s generally better, however, to talk to your teen about the dangers that can go along with dating and meet the person who he or she is spending time with. By communicating with your teen, you can show your support while also helping to guide him or her in the right direction while he or she is dealing with things that he or she might not have experienced in the past.
Guiding Your Teen to Be Independent
During this time in your teens’ lives, it is important to encourage them to become more and more independent. Of course, this does not mean that you should throw your kids to their own devices. In fact, doing so can actually be quite disastrous. However, encouraging them to slowly become more and more independent can be a good thing. Then, they can learn to do things on their own but can still have a little bit of parental guidance along the way. After all, college is right around the corner and they will have no parents down the hall, they need to be ready!
For example, now might be the time to start relaxing your curfew rules just a little bit. Of course, this does not mean that you should go from requiring your teens to be home before dark to allow them to stay out all night long. Slowly giving them a slightly later curfew as they prove that they are responsible enough to handle it can help you teach them independence slowly but with some restrictions. The same is true for things like dating, driving and more.
Helping Your Teen to Make Good, Responsible Choices
Perhaps the most important thing that you should remember when trying to be a good parent to your teens is teaching them how to make good, responsible choices. You aren’t always going to be there to see how your teens handle sticky situations or to help point them in the right direction and they will definitely fail your parenting a lot. Therefore, teaching them about making good choices is critical. Even when they misstep they can learn from those mistakes and ask for help. In times a teen may need counseling to deal with emotional issues, serious medical emergencies like rehab for heroin treatment, or guidance by speaking with a coach or teacher about making choices. It is just as important to teach your teenager to communicate when in struggle as helping them make choices in the first place.