7 Tips for Parenting TeenagersMar 20, 2023
Parenting teenagers is both a rewarding and challenging journey (and it’s perfectly normal if sometimes you feel like you experience more of the challenges than you do the rewards!).
As your children grow older, they start to become more independent, develop their own interests and opinions, and navigate a range of new experiences. As parents, it's important to adapt your parenting style to meet the needs of your teens and guide them towards adulthood.
Parenting Teenagers Tips:
- Communication is key
- Take an interest in who your teen is
- Allow for independence
- Establish supportive boundaries
- Respect their privacy
- Conflict is par for the course
- Stay up-to-date and informed
Communication is key
It’s simple to say but challenging to get right. Maintaining open and honest communication with your teen is vital for helping them navigate all that their teenage years will throw at them (and you). Try to listen to understand their opinions and perspectives, rather than waiting to give your own.
Listening openly like this can make it easier for them to approach you when they’ve got something really important that they need to discuss.
Take an interest in who your teen is
Show your teenager that you care about them and are there to support them. You can do this by offering your undivided attention to hear about their interests and hobbies (without judgement) and asking thoughtful questions about what they’ve told you. Being supportive of the small details builds the foundations for supporting them through the bigger challenges they may face.
Allow for independence
Moving through your teen years into early adulthood is all about practicing and learning—and mistakes are going to happen along the way. Encourage your teenager to take responsibility for their actions and allow them to make their own decisions (within reason). This will help them to develop important life skills and build their self-esteem.
Establish supportive boundaries
Teenagers need boundaries just like children of any other age. Framing these boundaries as supportive (rather than restrictive) can be a useful way to get your teen onboard with them and to respect them.
Allow some room for negotiation and listen to the boundaries that your teen is asking for in return. For example, if you’ve got clear rules about how and when they can use social media, make sure you’re respecting their boundaries when it comes to something like uploading photos of them onto your profiles.
Respect their privacy
It’s a tough balance to get right. While it's important to keep your finger on the pulse of your teenager's activities and behavior, it's also important to respect their privacy and give them space to develop their own sense of identity.
Rather than invading their privacy and monitoring everything they do, stay present and engaged with them so that they can come to you when they need to.
Conflict is par for the course
Even with all the right strategies at your disposal, you’re bound to experience some conflict with your teen. This is normal and not necessarily a sign that things are wrong. They’re developing their own identity at this stage and boundaries are definitely going to be pushed. Try to stay calm, listen to what your teen is asking for, and decide which battles are worth fighting.
Stay up-to-date and informed
The issues that are affecting today’s teenagers are vastly different to those that you faced when you were growing up. Having said this, there will be lots of familiar underlying themes there too.Staying informed on things like screen time, social media, and cyberbullying will help you be best prepared to support your child.
If that sounds like a daunting task, I’ve got more helpful resources for digital-aged parents wanting to support their teens. Check out my course for parenting teenagers aged 13-17.
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