Teenagers can be a handful and they may feel like they are also drifting further and further away. It can be overwhelming to see your child behave in new and unfamiliar ways, and you may not know how to handle this at first.
But don’t worry, you can navigate these troubled parenting years with positive thinking And understanding! Here are three practical ways to deal with teens and three ways to strengthen the bond they share.
Three effective ways to deal with teens
Try these techniques when dealing with a hormone-ridden teenager.
Every household needs a set of rules, but raising a teenager and ensuring boundaries are adhered to can be difficult. Here are some tips to do so:
Establish and maintain rules
Limits and rules should be communicated to your teens so they know what is expected of them. Initially, some compromise may be requested, so feel free to discuss things with them first until a reasonable agreement is reached. At the same time, remember that many teens like to push boundaries, so stick with the boundaries once they are agreed upon. It can help to write rules and have your child approve them.
Stay calm when the rules are broken
Teens can break the rules, and it’s not unusual for your kids at that age to start testing the limits and see what they can get away with. This means that you need to prepare for the possibility of your teens breaking agreed-upon rules. It can be very aggravating when this happens and you may feel angry as a result, but staying calm is essential. You can walk away or take a deep breath if necessary to be able to deal with the behavior in a reasonable and fair but firm way. Being guided by anger will cause you to take actions that you will regret later!
Some parents can be extremely authoritarian with rules, set almost impossible limits, and invade their teen’s space. For example, you shouldn’t set a 7pm bedtime for a 15-year-old – that’s not possible! But this also extends to less clear individual circumstances. If your teenager is having trouble with organization, it may not be reasonable to say that their room should always be spotless. Have open discussions with your teen about your concerns and the rules you want to create, and take their input into account when deciding on reasonable limits.
When your teenager breaks the rules, impose reasonable consequences based on calm and rational thinking. You don’t want to be so lenient that your teens don’t think the rules matter, but you also don’t want to become a dictator who makes tough decisions that are disproportionate to “crime.” When applying consequences, explain to your teen what he did, why it got him into trouble, and what the consequences are now. If this becomes a point of discussion, you and your teen can work out pre-agreed consequences to go within pre-agreed limits.
2. Keep an eye on problem areas
Many teens get into trouble over the years. Keeping an eye on the important areas can be crucial to ensure you nip the worst things in the bud and be ready to provide support in other areas. Here are some tips for doing this:
Be attentive to the actions of the problems
Teens like their privacy, but you still need to take care of them. This does not mean that you should be disrespectful of their need for space, but you should be aware of specific actions and behaviors that indicate problems may arise. Take note of behaviors like hiding things, lying, behaving in unusual ways, dating the wrong people, becoming more withdrawn, and other notable actions. It is not uncommon for teenagers to also act as a form of seeking care for deeper issues, so pay attention and stay alert.
Emphasize trust over suspicion
When you have concerns about problem behavior, it is a good idea to bring them up. When you do, focus on your confidence in your teen over any suspicions you have. Explain that you have concerns but want to trust their judgment and emphasize the need to set limits regarding the new problem activity. Show that you want to trust them first, and encourage them to open up by asking genuine questions rather than making their assumptions.
Treat the threats of a crisis seriously
If your teen talks about harmful behaviors or threatens to do something dangerous, take it seriously. Too often, parents roll their eyes and think that teens “misbehave” to get attention. But even if that were the case, a teenager faking something to get attention still needs attention. Take crises seriously and don’t think twice about taking action or seeking help from professionals if your teen talks about hurting himself or others.
3. Don’t compromise your position as a parent.
Parents often make the mistake of trying to be friends with their teens, but that’s not what a child really needs! You are a parent in a position of authority and exercising that power wisely is crucial to dealing with teens effectively. That is how:
Manage conflicts intelligently
It’s hard being a parent to a particularly intense teenager! But it is your responsibility to handle conflicts with your teen as a parent and an adult would. Don’t lower yourself to your teen’s level, even if he’s behaving negatively. Express empathy for your child’s situation, stay calm with positive thinking and seek to choose your battles wisely. Remember, you are not on an equal footing here: you are an adult and a parent, and your teen is growing, developing, and learning. They will make mistakes and they will be unfair, and you will have to be the “greatest person” – that is exactly what it means to be a parent!
Take charge of rethinking
It is the role of parents to guide their children, and if your teenager has developed a negative worldview, you can help them rethink it. Shift your perspective and turn your attention to the positive sides of a situation. Remind your teen to those around him that his actions affect him. The better you are modeling positive by rephrasing, the more quickly your child will follow suit.
Don’t give up your power
Difficult teens may intentionally try to get you up in a “power move.” Don’t let them push your buttons! Stay calm and rational and, if necessary, take a break. Stop pressing any button with a firm but reasonable correction, reaffirming your place as an authority figure.
Three ways to strengthen your bond with teens
1. Respect your teen’s individuality
Your teenager is a complete person on his own and, as a parent, it is your job to understand that and to appreciate and respect the individual characteristics of your teenager. Here are some ways to do it:
Let your friends in
Your teenager is going to have his friends, and you may not like all of them. But the best way to get to know these friends and learn more about the dynamics of your teen’s friendship is to let their friends into your home. Make a space in your house where everyone can hang out, preferably in an open area where you can walk quietly and keep an eye on them.
Your teen likely has a ton of personal interests, and you should support them where you can! If you like to dance, pay for the lessons. If you like the theater, be sure to go see their shows. Or if they prefer sports, sign them up for related clubs and training sessions.
Remember that respect goes both ways
It is normal for parents to expect respect from their children, but their children also deserve their respect. It is a two-way street. Your teenager should be treated with kindness, patience, respect, and empathy, so don’t insult, belittle, or ignore him.
2. Keep the lines open
Teens tend to withdraw, but if you keep the lines open, you can avoid that. That is how:
Use effective communication
You want to make sure that positive communication it is part of your relationship with your adolescent. Keep the lines of communication open and be polite and non-judgmental, so your teens always feel comfortable approaching you with questions or advice. If your teen doesn’t talk much, you can write notes, send text messages, or use other forms of communication.
Your adolescent wants to feel understood and you must develop the necessary empathy for this. Rather than automatically assuming the worst, listen carefully to your teen, express your understanding of what he is facing, and focus less on fixing things or berating him. Support them, validate their thoughts, struggles, and experiences, and don’t judge them by what they feel and their questions.
· Be available
Being available as a parent gives your teen the support they need to positive effects on their performance and personal well-being and self-esteem. Be available to your children of all ages and keep them top priority over your other non-family commitments.
3. Allow desires for independence
It is natural for teenagers to want to be independent. You can’t completely take the reins out of them, but you need to find a balance that allows teens to explore their desires for such intelligence. That is how:
Be flexible with freedom
Adolescents are in an exploratory phase of their lives. They want to experience independence and learn to be responsible, and you can help facilitate this by being flexible with your freedoms. The goal is to teach your teenager that his personal decisions determine the results he faces. You are free to extend and retract the levels of freedom for your teen, as long as you communicate why you are doing so in a positive way.
Give them the opportunity to solve problems
It’s tempting to want to step in and take care of teens, solving their problems for them, but you need to give your kids a chance to figure things out for themselves. Once you’ve listened and shown empathy, encourage your teen to independently find solutions. Of course, you are always available to offer help, but you must make it clear that you want your teen to solve their problems, face their consequences, and move on.
Treat them like a teenager, not a child
While you shouldn’t treat a teenager like an adult, you shouldn’t treat him like a child. Although he can always be a baby in your eyes, your teenager has grown from that stage. Remember to treat them like teenagers rather than children, and this will give you more perspective on how much independence they should have done it at this stage in their life.
Parenting can be challenging, but it is certainly rewarding. The teen years are often hard to handle, but if you handle those things well and strengthen your bond with your teen in the meantime, you and they will turn out fine!