So your baby has grown into a teenager. Suddenly parenting is a whole new ball game. What to do. Here are some practical ideas, some good parenting tips to help make your time with your teen a success.
- Listening is a wonderful attribute. It applies to all relationships but especially with a teen. Find out what has happened in their day. Ask about their school progress, the social life and hobbies. Be interested but be a listener.
- Know their friends. Don’t be a parent who has little or no knowledge of the friends of their son or daughter. Get to know your child’s friends, their names, their family members. By being a part of your child’s circle, you are in a much better position to know if things are going wrong and, more importantly, can take a keen interest in their activities.
- Rules are good for everyone. They might be young adults but they are still young enough to abide by certain rules. Set a curfew when they are going out. Make sure your teen keeps the curfew. Be prepared to change the rule if a special occasion warrants a change. But don’t drop the rules because your teen is no longer a youngster.
- Walk the walk. You can give all the advice in the world but if you don’t follow your own advice, your words will ring hollow. Kids learn so much by observing their parents. Set a good or hopefully a great example.
- Check on your kids. Many parents see this as spying, as not giving their child some independence. Just remember that there are dangers in the world such as drugs. If your teen goes to a party, do you know who else will be there? Do you know if a responsible parent will be there? By all means give your teen some freedom but keep a close eye on potentially dangerous situations.
- Learn to roll with the punches. Fighting back is rarely if ever a good move. If your teen is angry and lashes out, the best response is to stay calm. For you to lose your temper and take on your teen is never going to resolve any issue. Keep calm and don’t answer back.
- Treat your teen with the respect you would like to receive yourself. A teen will most likely want some privacy. Strike that happy balance between family activities and private times.
- Participate in your teen’s activities. Go and watch them play sport or play in a band. Get involved in your teen’s school. Make yourself known to staff and especially the teachers of your teen. Be able to discuss school progress with the relevant teachers.
- Give your teen a mobile phone especially for emergencies. Have them contact you at regular times. Allow them to be responsible with their phone.
- Consistency is the ideal style in all areas for all people. You will have rules for your teen and your reaction to their handling of the rules must be consistent. And don’t simply take the punishment route. If your teen keeps to the rules, don’t be afraid to heap praise upon them and even offer a reward. The carrot has far more benefits than the stick. Mind you harsh discipline is never recommended. It can do far more harm than any good and will rarely make a relationship stronger.
- No parent is perfect and admitting you are human will make you a much more reliable parent than one who never explains their rules and thinking. Openness and honesty are great attributes for every parent.
- Build or create the right atmosphere. This should start when your teen is a toddler. Plenty of love and security will make your home a safe and welcoming place. Your teen will appreciate your hard work and reward your love with plenty in return.
- Finally remember that words however well-meant, are cheap and actions speak far louder. Act the way you would like your teen to act.
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