So your role as a parent is to raise a teenager. Some people would smile and wish you luck. But despite all the bad press about some of the problems faced by many teens today, there can be little so satisfying as watching your teen grow into a caring and healthy young man or woman.

Some parents will have more problems than others but there is so much help and advice available today that you as a parent can tap into all sorts of assistance. You may not need it. You may have a strong, open and loving relationship which grows stronger every day.

But one thing will change and that is the nature of the beast. Teenage years are the times when their bodies grow in leaps and bounds, when their sexual awakening takes place and when, in today’s society, many choices are on offer.

One changing aspect for a parent is how your child as a teen moves from being dependent to independent. It’s an exciting time where you move closer to being an equal with your child as they move into adulthood.

So how does a parent handle their teen in these so-called difficult years?

First and foremost is the issue of communication. You should never stop communicating and learning to be a good listener is a brilliant attribute to develop. A teen will want to share their news, views and issues with someone they trust. You should be that someone.

When a teen wants to pick an argument with their parent, chances are the two do not have a close and constant form of communication. The more you talk and listen to your teen the less likely should be any falling out between the two of you.

Remember that sub-text is now in play when talking with your teen. They may say something but is there a hidden meaning? Are they asking for your guidance on a sensitive issue and are not keen on being too specific? Become good at reading between the lines.

Being a friend with your teen can have many positive benefits but do not lose sight of the fact that a young teen is just that – young. You don’t throw out the rules which applied to your teen when they were a child. You may need to re-write them and adapt some but teenagers want discipline and thrive in a friendly, fair but controlled environment. You want to know where they are going, with whom and when they will be home. Show respect to your teen and you are highly likely to receive respect in return.

Knowing how a teen operates and the issues they are likely to face is a big help for a parent. Kids can be cruel to one another and can assert peer pressure. As a parent, be prepared for any eventuality, talk often and listen more. Be pro-active. Expect what might happen and have a routine and forum to help your teen through what could be a troubled time.

Parenting a teen takes time, love and patience. Make the investment and enjoy the rewards for decades to come.

Here are additional resources you might be interested in:

Safety Tips for Parents

What are Good Parenting Tips for Teens?