In today’s world, parenting a teenager is more difficult than parenting young children. During this period, a child undergoes hormonal changes which can alter their behaviour and it’s quite normal for them to slowly start breaking away from you and leading a more independent lifestyle. Most parents become stressed and anxious over these changes.
Here are some of the important things you need to keep in mind while dealing with a teenager:
1. Sharing of information early
It is important to make your child aware about the physical changes in their body. Your daughter should be guided well about her menstruation cycles etc. All questions, doubts and fears need to be addressed at this time. It is important to impart sex education so that they don’t feel the need to get the information from external sources. It is also important to talk to them about difficult topics like drugs, consuming alcohol, driving, premarital sex etc. They should be made aware of the risk factors involved and the worst case scenarios.
2. Give them freedom to take some decisions
This is the time when teenagers are trying to establish their identity and you could help them make their own decisions by laying out the pros and cons of each situation. Also give them freedom to do some things on their own like buying clothes, shoes, go out for movies etc. However remember to step in immediately when you sense things are not going right, in situations such as your child engaging with wrong company or your child is about to get a permanent tattoo.
Communication is very important. Listen to their concerns and fears etc. Most of the time parents become judgmental as they expect their child to behave like an adult. Never pressurize them. Instead spend quality time together, watching a movie or eating out together on a Saturday evening and even share a joke or two. Guide them whenever needed by sharing your own experiences and always maintain a congenial environment in the house.
4. Clear Rules and Discipline
Always set the rules of the house in advance. The rules should be fair and clear. Non-compliance will lead to disciplinary actions like time off, no play time for a week or no eating out on weekend etc. This should be clearly decided and accepted by all. Remember to stick to rules and do not change the rules frequently.
This is the most challenging thing to do for parents. You need to respect your child’s privacy at all times. You will need to maintain a harmonious balance by not being too intrusive or being too lenient.
6. It is time to be a friend
Your children are currently in a transition period wherein they are not fully kids or fully adults. At this time they need a friend to talk to rather than a parent. Remember that you can bond more with your child by doing what they like. At times, empathize with them. It could be a good idea to invite their friends over for dinner so that you are aware of their friend circle and their likings.
Finally if your home environment is conducive and supportive, then your child will less likely make bad or rebellious decisions.
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