For many parents, the arrival of teenage years is a dreaded, and challenging, time to be a parent. Teenagers are introduced to a ton of stress, and parents’ lives are no less stressful. Often, teenager’s raging hormones make it difficult for parents to understand why they feel as they do, and teenagers are frustrated with their parent’s attempts at understanding–or lack thereof. The teen years are often dreaded, but they need not be. To keep peace between you and your teenagers and create an environment where you can maintain your sanity, follow the simple tips below.
Don’t hesitate or be afraid to allow your children to have their space. Teenage years can be particularly stressful, and teens may simply want to stay in their bedrooms to play video games, or drive around with their friends to relax. Know that teens are interested in different things than they were when you were a teenager, and relaxing has taken a few new forms.
Decide on what you consider to be truly important, and put your energy into making your teen do those things. For example, if you want your teen to do his or her homework, chores, and maintain certain grades, you should be willing to forgive him or her for having a slightly messy room, or for sleeping in late on the weekends. By focusing on the big things, and letting your teen handle the small things alone, you can ensure that they will be less likely to be frustrated with you.
Invite their friends over for dinner, cookouts, or on family trips so you can get to know them. This is particularly important if you take issue with not knowing who they spend their free time with, and want to know you can trust their friends.
Don’t make up rules as you go along. This can be frustrating for your teen and make fights and disagreements between you worse. If you want to make rules, consider negotiating with your teen on the parameters of those rules. For example, if you want to implement a curfew, consider setting a time and seeing if they would prefer an hour later. Eventually, you can come to a consensus. Then, they are more likely to uphold these rules.
Set a plan for when your children should check in with you. Make it loose enough that they will actually feel compelled to do it, and stress the importance of them checking in. If, on week nights, you would prefer them to call you if they plan to be out later than 11, they are more likely to call you and let you know than if you want them to call you every time they go somewhere.
Have important talks about risks, dangerous habits, sex, et cetera. Many parents are uncomfortable talking about such things with their kids. These parents should know, though, that it is much more uncomfortable to have to deal with the consequences of their child having engaged in these risky behaviors. A grandchild, for example, or a child addicted to drugs.
Live by the same morals you expect your teens to live by. Living according to a "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy can be detrimental to how your child perceives you, and makes it more unlikely that they will actually do what you want them to. By setting a good example and being a powerful role model, they are likely to follow your leadership by example.
By following these simple tips, you can ensure a peaceful relationship with your teenage child. This will make your lives much more enjoyable, and make your child’s teen years a fond thing to look back on instead of a horrible memory.