Teenage Parenting Tips That Change Absolutely Everything
There are few things that parents dread as much as their child finally hitting their teenage years, and for good reason.
Some of us remember what we were like as teenagers – wild, out of control, little bit reckless, and always looking to push the envelope while pretty much rejecting out of hand everything mom and dad had to say for no real reason other than the fact that they were mom and dad – and nobody looks forward to seeing the other side of the fence from the parent position.
At the same time, navigating the rough and rocky teenage years with your child successfully is one of the most important things you can do to really lay down a solid foundation for a rewarding relationship that lasts your entire life.
Here are some teenage parenting tips that will hopefully help you do exactly that.
Hope for the Best but Have a Backup Plan for the Worst
A lot of parents have so many preconceived notions about how their teenager is going to act as soon as they hit 13 that it kind of clouds their decision-making a little bit, and that’s a recipe for disaster.
Instead you’re going to want to hope for the very best of your teenager while understanding that there may be times when things kind of run off the rails a little bit. In those situations you’ll want to have a backup plan that allows you to successfully navigate any sticky situations that may pop up along the way with a cool head, calm mind, and open heart.
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Get Involved with Their Lives
Teenage years are particularly difficult because this is right around when children are really starting to stretch their wings and flex a bit of their independence, and they aren’t going to be all that excited about hanging around with mom and dad any longer.
While you’re not going to want to push back against that too much (or run the risk of shoving them in the opposite direction) you are also going to want to try and find as many different ways as possible to get involved in their lives, their interests, and their new hobbies.
You don’t necessarily have to become their very best friend all while abandoning your role as a parent and disciplinarian (that’s definitely not a road you ever want to go down), but you do want to make sure that there are clear open lines of communication, respect, and trust between you and your teenager all the way through.
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Try Not to Overwhelm Yourself with the Decisions That They Make
There is definitely a temptation to try and control the decisions that your teenager makes, especially if you find they are making the same kinds of mistakes you made as a teenager and had to suffer negative outcomes because of it.
And while you’ll want to do absolutely everything you can to give them context, information, and tools to make better decisions during these often challenging times in life you cannot make the mistake of trying to control the decisions that they themselves have to move forward with.
This is how you end up pushing children into dangerous situations just because of the teenage desire to rebel against control, and often times things escalate into even worse situations than they ever would have been if things were left to the teenager’s own devices while still providing support and structure.
Obviously you don’t have or want them to make bad decisions, but that’s exactly what teenagers do and exactly what teenagers have always done ever since the beginning of time, this is how they learn. You’ll need to be there to help them pick up the pieces, add necessary context to why things went wrong, and help them understand how to make better decisions in the future.
The Most Important of All Teenage Parenting Tips Is to Embrace the Challenge with Love
There is no real right or wrong way to parent a teenager, and the odds are really good that your teen is going to make at least a handful of decisions that probably aren’t the smartest thing they could have done – decisions that they will not make in the future, but usually only because of these negative experiences.
Instead of fighting against the current, however, or falling into the trap of “oh no, it’s those teenage years”, you’ll instead want to embrace the challenge with as much love as you can muster to help them get through these difficult and awkward times and come out on the other side of adulthood better for the experience.
You’ll also be able to pass along some pretty important teenage parenting tips that they’ll recognize just through their memory and experiences that will help them when they become parents.
It doesn’t get much better than that.