As my daughters became teenagers, I finally understood the warnings that I had heard throughout my life.
Although my girls are great kids, we still have gone through rough times.
From first dates to road trips, it has been a learning experience to be sure.
Here are some things I have learned:
For many parents, teens are some of the most difficult children to deal with.
They are in a stage of their lives where they assume to know everything they need in order to succeed in life. In reality, what they think they've experienced could only be a small fraction of what life really has in store for them.
Even those who proclaim their independence may still be interested in recognition by Mom and Dad.
While they may put up a strong front, they need your guidance now more than ever.
Circumstances are changing and more first-time, adult situations are beginning to unfold.
You have the benefit of age and experience; your child doesn't.
How can you get involved more within his or her life?
Teenagers are trying to solidify themselves as a growing individual.
They value respect of personal space more so than they did a decade ago.
Essentially, the same methods of respect you use for adult personal space work exceptionally well with teens.
Would you like it if your brother-in-law barged into your bedroom without knocking?
Although it is your house, you should still consider respecting a teen’s privacy; unless you have concrete evidence that something is seriously wrong.
You don't have to pry into their lives in order to hold a decent conversation.
The more you interact with an individual, the more they begin to trust your judgment.
Lectures are not the same thing as a conversation.
If you can engage a teen to have a two-way communique, a great deal more can be accomplished. Instead of simply ignoring your words, he or she has to think in order to respond.
You don't even have to discuss serious circumstances.
It won't fix things overnight, but it lays the groundwork to develop trust and understanding.
Engage Yourself in Their Hobbies
If your teen finds solace in video games, you can involve yourself by showing a real interest in the activity.
After all, how do you know you won't enjoy it unless you try?
Isn't that what you've been teaching your child for the past several years? If you take a serious interest in what they find to be entertaining, you can begin to create a bond as he or she teaches you.
It doesn't have to be a video game.
Any activity that the teen shows interest in can be used as a method to engage them further.
Credit Where Credit is Due
Don't focus on the negative of any situation.
Provide praises and confidence building comments as often as possible.
Any child would rather hear praises than criticism, and it could impact how they view life.
You don't want to raise a child that focuses on the negative of every situation, do you?
You'd be amazed at just how far a “good job” can go with a teen.
Lead by Example
Most importantly, you must lead your family by example.
Children will often absorb your habits and mannerisms as you are the leading role model in their life.
If you don't want your children to behave a certain way, then you shouldn't either.
Although this isn't always the case, it can greatly reduce the chances that your teen will find themselves in a dangerous predicament.
It Isn't Easy Until You Actually Try
Raising a teen is not easy by any stretch of the imagination.
You've got to do the best you can to prepare them for a world they think they know.
Remember, many situations are being experienced for the first time, and he or she may not know how to handle them correctly.
Be ever-present and show your teen you'll always be there.
What Are Your Thoughts?
- What's been your biggest hurdle?
- These are my experiences. Got another tip from yours?
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Express your thoughts, in the comments below.
Editors Note: A very close friend recently opened a line of female swimwear that fits perfectly with the readers of this post. The swimwear line actually helps build a fun and lasting connection between mother and daughter.
“Amadas Swimwear are made with love, inspired and created by women for women. We have quality swimwear plus matching swimwear for mothers and daughters. Browse our range of products here http://www.amadasswimwear.com “
Go check them out – I think you'll find some fantastic value.