You have made it through the 4 a.m feedings, survived the colic, and the so-called terrible two’s when your child was a toddler.
You have lived through their first day of kindergarten and faced many a meltdown. You are strong and amazing. You are a parent.
So, why does the idea of having a teenager still scare the daylights out of you?
TIPS FOR MANAGING AND UNDERSTANDING YOUR TEENAGER
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When you take into consideration the fact that the teen years are a time of intense change and growth, you will find out that you are rightfully scared.
Not only are your children changing emotionally, but also physically and intellectually and it makes absolute sense that you are feeling a little overwhelmed. Chances are they are too.
Although you may start butting heads with your child more, these are the formative years that give you the chance to help your teen turn into the amazing adults they are destined to be.
PUT YOURSELF IN THEIR SHOES
Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that you too were a teenager. Try to find common ground and a way to relate to how they are probably feeling. There are so many changes happening with your teenager that they may be having trouble understanding what is going on with them. They may feel as though they are grown up one second, and the next as though they are still little.
Let them know that that is ok.
There are probably so many questions that your teenager is looking for answers to. Make a point to sit down and have a conversation with them, allowing them to ask questions when they feel comfortable.
It is also important that you allow your teen to lead the conversation sometimes. This will help them to know that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say while also facilitating a good, communicative relationship.
SPEND TIME TOGETHER AS A FAMILY
They say the family that plays together, stays together.
Even though your teenager may be feeling “too old” to participate in family game nights or movie marathons with you, they certainly are not.
Set time aside frequently to engage with your teenagers. If they are reluctant, allow them to choose the activity, be it bowling or catching a movie together at the theatre.
SHOW AN INTEREST IN THEIR ACTIVITIES
If your teenager is part of a club at school or participates in team sports, make a point to be involved.
Sharing something they enjoy with them is an amazing way to facilitate a close relationship.
Coach their soccer team if you can, organize an after-school chess match with their friends or even just be present. You showing an interest in what your teenagers do is an amazing way to show them that they can count on you.
DON’T BE THEIR FRIEND
They don’t need any more friends. Remember that.
What your teenager needs is a parent, so while it may seem easier to be that cool parent that let things slide often, you are only doing a disservice to your child. Always remember to set clear, age-appropriate limitations and boundaries.
There are many ways to take the time out to understand and parent your teenager. Just remember that it is important to note that this is a confusing time for all of you and navigating it together is the best way through.
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