Parenting a teen can be challenging. They feel like they’re adults and want to be treated like one, but aren’t really old enough to be able to handle the responsibilities of being an adult.
You remember being that age and how little you really knew about the world, and know that your teen is the same.
But they wouldn’t believe you any more than you believed your parents!
Not picking your battles
All teens need to rebel in some way. Rather than fighting them on everything, it’s better to just be firm on the things that really matter.
Even if you disapprove, if it’s something that won’t affect them long term let them experiment. If they want spiky purple hair, let them. It will grow out, and they can dye it back.
A tattoo on the other hand is permanent.
Consistency is important as all ages but it’s particularly vital for teens, who are constantly trying to push their boundaries.
We all knew someone when we were teenagers whose parents responded completely inconsistently to wrong doing – grounding them if they forgot to tidy their room and being disappointed but understanding for serious things, like shoplifting or getting suspended.
While of course it’s good to be understanding, it actually just sets up in the teenager’s mind that they can get away with anything as long as the dishes are done.
Being proportionate and consistent is vital in getting your teen to understand boundaries.
Fearing the worst
The media bombards us with terrible stories of teens stealing, drinking, taking drugs, having unprotected sex or worse – joining a gang.
You know your child, and the truth is they probably aren’t doing any of these things. But by expecting the worst you are setting them up to fail. If they feel like they are accused of doing these things anyway, they will feel there’s no point not doing them.
Teens are already followed around by security in shops; make sure they don’t feel targeted at home too.
You should keep an eye open for changes in behaviour, but always assume the best of your teen, not the worst. If you show you have confidence in them to do the right thing, they will have more confidence in themselves.