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There’s no doubt about it; parenting is tough most of us are simply making it up as we go along and trying our hardest to bring our kids up as best we can.
When those demanding toddler years ended you probably breathed a sigh of relief and relished in the happy, kind, and caring child you were raising; then it happened – your baby turned into a teenager. Whereas once you were woken up bright and early by your child bouncing into your room, full of infectious enthusiasm for the day ahead, now you probably struggle to even get them out of bed to go off to school each morning.
The teenage years certainly aren’t the easiest of times as a parent, and while it is incredible to see your child grow into a young adult, and gaining their independence, it can also be a challenge to parent them. Although your teenager may look grown up, and act grown up a lot of the time, the truth is that underneath it all, they are still a child and you are still responsible for them.
Be a Good Role Model
No one likes a hypocrite, and there’s no easier way to wind up an angst-filled teen, than by adopting a ‘do as I say, not as I do attitude’ toward their behavior.
Instilling your child with values, and being clear on your expectations gives them boundaries to work within. However, if you are not modeling this behavior in the way you live your own life, you can’t then expect your teenager to take notice of your expectations.
Of course, no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, but by doing your best to set an example of behaving with compassion, understanding, and fairness you will be parenting by example, and this should filter down to your children.
Pick Your Battles
There are likely going to be lots of things about your teenager that you disprove of, including both things that they do and things that they say. While of course, you don’t want to enable them to act as they wish all the time with no consequences, it is also essential to pick your battles.
By criticizing everything that they do, that you disapprove of you will escalate situations, and turn them into much more than they need to be. Calling out your child on absolutely everything is likely to leave them feeling alienated from you, and like you don’t understand them. Constantly battling with your teenager will also leave you feeling incredibly stressed and probably resentful of the amount of time that you spend shouting at them.
Deciding when to let your kids out and about on their own is, of course, a completely individual one, and is often down to how mature the child is, and how comfortable you feel about the situation.
When your kids are going out without you, it is only natural to feel a little concerned and worried about where they are and what they are doing. As much as you may have tried to instill good values in them throughout their childhood, as well as trying to make them as street smart as possible, the worry can remain. One way to get around this is to have a cell phone tracking app added to their phone. The app will enable you to see where they are and where they have been. Having this kind of information will help to prevent arguments even starting when your teen arrives home, as you will already know where they were. It is a good idea to be open with your teenager about the app; that way, everyone is being honest and showing that no secrets are being kept.
Build Their Confidence
Self-confidence is something that everyone needs and is an essential part of being an adult that knows their mind, and feels comfortable in their skin. Building your child’s self-confidence doesn’t mean making them precocious, but it does mean that they are less likely to follow the crowd and do whatever their friends tell them to do, which could result in them getting into trouble. Having a teenager that is easily led by friends can often cause conflict at home, as you may not approve of their behavior. Having a child that is self-confident and resilient should help them to avoid being pressurized into doing things that they don’t want to do by friends, and be guided by their values and beliefs rather than succumbing to peer pressure.