Teach them to be independent. When your child is a toddler you take their hand and lead them through life. When your child is older you need to teach them how to look after themselves. You will do a wonderful thing if you can allow your child to make wise choices as they grow up. Decisions about the type of friend they hang out with and their ability to say no to drugs. You cannot be with your teenager all the time but you can give them the life skills to act sensibly.
Professional help may be necessary. No matter how good a relationship you have with your child, there are some situations where professional help is required. It will obviously be for your teenager but may also be good for you. Do not hesitate if you believe such assistance is required. Your family doctor would be a good stating point and he or she can refer you to a specialist if required. You need to be careful in this situation because teenagers are not tiny tots and (a) may not believe there is anything wrong with them and (b) may be in a position to refuse to attend any professional care sessions. Again talking with your family doctor may help you find your way through this emotional minefield.
Learn to be patient. Just getting through to your teenager may not be easy. Having a one-off heart-to-heart may sound ideal but in reality your child may refuse to even discuss their so-called problem. Or they may be devious and not speak truthfully. If they are in trouble they may resort to lying. You need to be aware that Rome was not built in a day. You need to be patient. An argument will not only not help it may make the situation worse. Be strong, be friendly and be patient.
Slaves to fashion. Teenagers will wear or not wear an item of clothing because it is cool or not cool to do so. If that behavior is dangerous to their health then you need to find a way to explain this. Let’s say in winter they refuse to wear appropriate clothes because it’s not the fashion. You could explain that getting a cold or the flu will mean they won’t be able to go to that concert they have been planning to attend. Another method tried by some parents is to produce photographs of the parent when young. Teenagers may think their parents look crazy but it’s a good way to break the ice in talking about what is sensible to wear. After all, we’ve all been daggy once.
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