Parenting a teenager takes a lot of patience and monitoring of behaviors. However, it can also be very rewarding. Every parent wants their teenager to have the best of these precious years in their lives. They also know that this period of time is important in shaping morals and values.
I recently read an article that was written by Leanne Italie of the Associated Press. The title was, “How to cope with the tough teenage years.” The article gave a lot of advice by different individuals. Some of it ,a parent might be able to use and some they can’t. Why? Because no two situations are the same.
There are many parents that support or want to support their teenager the best way possible. The most important factor in any of this is communication. They have to be able to listen and understand the words coming out of your mouth. But, just as important is your ability to listen to your teen.
Every parent knows when the best time for this communication to take place. For myself, I have found it best when they come home at night before bed. They are usually excited about what happened during the day and use this small amount of time to tell you about the days adventures. In most cases, the longer they talk the more they reveal. Being a good listener will reinforce their confidence in you. However, if you try to shove your moral values and ideas down their throat, when they are freely talking to you, you might lose them.
The teaching of moral values is a slow grinding process. It is done by displaying examples and repetition. It is a never ending process. It can even be tougher on the parent than the teenager. Teenagers are smart though. They know when you are right and trying to help them. They just don’t like to acknowledge it. Why? Because they are struggling for their independence and identity. They know you are right and appreciate your help. They just have to work through this themselves. This is where your patience comes in and is challenged.
With that in mind, here are some tools to help you get through this period as a parent.
Lengthen the leash but be prepared to step in sooner than later. Check in often but briefly. When it comes to discipline, be sure that your teen has a clear understanding about consequences for bad behavior. Always reinforce positive behavior. Keep your remarks private if you can. Always try to discipline privately. No teens like to be belittled in front of their peers. Although many say positive behavior should be reinforced publicly, I think that by keeping it private is just as important. It is a way to create a stronger bonding with your teen.
In a heated argument, focus on calming down the teen first. Use a slow measured tone repeated over and over if necessary until you succeed in your efforts. You can never get the true desired results during a heated conversation. Another great tactic is to isolate the teen. Focus on just one behavior, not a litany of many. Try to get them alone away from others to calm them down. Don’t send them off to their room alone, you go with them.
Look at their situation through their eyes not yours. How they see it and how you perceive they see it or two different worlds. Even if you disagree with it, at least try to understand their reasoning.
Lastly, you are their parent not their buddy. Don’t be afraid to make tough decisions and stick to them. Some call it tough love. However, I prefer to it as just love. Whenever your teen complains about why are you always telling me what to do? Simply say, “Because I love you.” If that isn’t good enough, then tell them, “When I stop talking to you, then your problem begins. Because, that means I have given up on you.” Now granted that is an extreme that no parent wants to go to. We never give up on the ones we love. However, if a teen feels like they are losing a connection with someone that really cares about them, they might rethink their words or actions.
Hugs can save the day. In times of joy and turmoil, a long hug can go a long way in developing and maintaining reassurance that you are there for them as a parent. Never be afraid to hug your teen. In public, they might think it is corny but, in private they love it.
sources; Leanne Italie;www.stltoday.com