Teen years can be the most challenging time for both the parents and the kids. During this age, children are not yet fully grown into their adulthood and tend to be “not so responsible” according to many parents. Most parents warn you about kids becoming rebellious at that age and they also warn you about the unavoidable conflicts that are about to take place between parents and child. However, it does not always have to be the case, as many parents also attest. It can be both a joy and a challenge parenting your teenager and guiding your teenager into adulthood with the right directions. In this article, we are listing 5 tips on parenting your teenager to guide your kid in the right direction.
Your teenager is full of energy and new ideas. The trick to raising your teenager lies in understanding the inputs behind his or her behavior. Your teenager goes through a number of developmental changes. We can all relate to those inputs, from our own experiences as teenager, in understanding what motivates them to behave the way they do. You too are able to experience life with your teenager if you think and react differently.
1. Connect with your teenager
You and your teenager must be able to connect and communicate. It is also important that you build a trusting relationship. If you find out that your teenager lied to you, try to find out the reason behind the lies instead of lecturing him. You can develop trust more easily if you act as a consultant rather than a role manager. This would be the most effective approach in understanding and guiding behaviors of teenagers.
Asking a few questions will build the trust between you and your teenager. You will have to do a lot of listening and make sure you both communicate well. As a parent, you might find it hard because “the truth” may always not be so easy to hear. However, you must set limits to his or her behaviors, but stay calm. This way you will find out more about the teenager, his school, and his friends. If he clams up, he may not give you full details and may try to hide information. Clarity in communication and clear boundaries build trust and makes transition from middle school to high school to college smoother.
2. Teach about finances
If you want to stay ahead of the financial game with your teenager, you must teach him or her about finances. A survey done in 2008 showed that teenagers today understand very little about finances. They scored record low in financial literacy tests in the decade. They have unrealistic ideas about finances and sometimes they can be over optimistic about their financial goals, such as thinking that they will start earning a six figure income immediately after graduating from high school. A very small number of teenagers understand how bills, salaries and credit cards work. Your teenager should know about expenses, budgeting and the importance of building good credit.
Start building a sense of finances by paying bills together or shopping together for groceries. You can also give him money and a list of groceries that you need for the week. That way he will learn budgeting and the value of money. Your teenager should also be encouraged to get a part time job, in addition to the weekly allowance that you pay. This also teaches your teenager how to budget and spend money responsibly. You can also discuss his academic interests and his college education. Education costs money which also helps in securing a bright future.
3. Be technologically advanced
There are many benefits to being technologically advanced. Take advantage of the latest technology and buy your teenager a mobile phone. You can easily stay connected, not only through voice calls but through instant messages. It is easier to track your teenagers through a mobile phone than to call all of his or her friends’ parents. Mobile phones provide safety and a sense of security. The negative aspect of mobile phones is that anyone is able to contact your teenager any time, or send emails. Therefore, monitoring your teenager becomes very important. Make sure that your teenager uses the phone responsibly by setting rules for using the phone. Many cell phones can allow you to set parental controls and set limits.
4. Enforce your curfew
Curfews build confidence. Curfews have many benefits. Your kids are less likely to get in trouble if they obey the curfew times. Your teenagers will also be safe form the dangers and crimes that seem to occur after midnight. It will also allow you to sleep better. Curfews are a must have rule, even though the teenagers hate it. To set a curfew time, discuss it with your teenager. Listen to his inputs and set a realistic time. It is ok to relax your rules and let your teen stay a little later or spends the night over to a friend’s house once in a while. But your times should be planned ahead. Your teen should not be allowed to stay at a friend’s house if he or she calls half an hour before the curfew is begins and begs for an extension or begs to spend the night at a friend’s house. Ask for an explanation if your teen daughter comes home 2 hours after the set curfew time without a prior notice.
5. Be patient
If your teenager breaks the curfew rules or does horrible in school, you will feel like screaming. Don’t lose your temper and start yelling, as this will teach nothing positive to your teenager. In most cases teenagers will not listen to you when you yell. They learn to tune you off and stop paying attention. They may also scream back, and then no one is listening. If you don’t approach this problem with a positive attitude, they are most likely to repeat this behavior. Staying calm and keeping a positive look may be difficult, but the best way to deal with such behavior is to stay calm and think of a strategy that works.
Remember that parenting teenagers is not an easy task. Even if you have taught your kids the right things and brought them up in the right way, one slight mistake by your teenager might have severe consequences. This is especially true when they start driving. Monitor your kids and find the reasons behind his or her behavior. Set strict rules and teach them to be responsible.
We will have more tips on parenting posted on our blogs regularly, so please come back and read our blogs more often. We’d appreciate your comments below in the comment box. It would greatly inspire us.
Source: Balanced Life Team