Raising teenagers in today’s challenging environment is a difficult task for every parent. It is the time when your child will ask you many difficult questions about sex, drugs, hormonal changes in the body, alcohol etc. Peer pressure will be dominant and they will try and rebel. But don’t worry, it is a transition period and every teenager is trying to find their own space and identity. They will try and break free from being dependant on you for all things.
So yes, it is very challenging for parents, as till now they would have been a major part of their children’s life guiding them in every matter, but suddenly things have changed when your child becomes a teenager.
Let us look at the top 8 ways of raising good teenagers without pushing them.
Start having conversations around difficult topics.
This is the time when your child will have many curious questions relating to their body changes, sex, drugs etc. They will hear a lot of these topics being discussed in their peer group and would like to know more about them.
It is normal that you would feel uncomfortable to discuss these things with your children, but a little bit of advance preparation would help you in discussing these topics confidently. Remember it is your chance to guide your child in taking responsible decisions in the future.
If your child has not asked you about it, then it is time to start these conversations in your house. You initiate these conversations and let them hear your views on the same.
Keep the conversations informative without going overboard.
It is important to be cool and calm while having these difficult conversations. Many a time, it can lead to heated discussions due to different points of view. Avoid confrontation but let your child know the serious consequences of taking a wrong decision.
Try to give them real life examples and situations that they might be able to relate to. You can share your own teenager experiences and the relevant challenges that you have faced during that time. Though times have changed, the moral challenges or dilemma will almost be the same.
Keep the communication channel open.
Communication is one of the most important things in dealing with your children. It is important to give your child a positive feeling and welcome his/her decision to ask you these difficult questions. Only when they are comfortable and feel free to talk to you, will they come forward and discuss with you.
It is important to remember that they need to get the right information from the right sources. If they are not comfortable talking to you, they will turn to the world where they are more likely to get wrong information.
Listen to your child.
It is time to have a casual informal conversation with your child. Let this not be a one-time conversation, wherein you try to give all the information.
Start the conversations casually and ask them questions and what are their problems. Give them a chance to speak and listen to them.
Avoid being judgemental and critical about their questions and views. Talk to them calmly about the wrong opinions and the consequences of these opinions.
There would be many times that you will be shocked to know about what they hear from their peer group. It is time to clear those wrong views and allay their fears.
Give them the independence to take age appropriate decisions.
It is important to give them enough freedom to take age appropriate decisions. Let them decide the books, the clothes (decent ofcourse) or the extra-curricular activities that they would like to choose from. Get involved, if they get into bad company or would like to do a tattoo on their arm or they are involved alcohol and drugs.
It is important to know the friend circle of your child and people with whom your child interacts with. Don’t be interfering, but keep a watch on their social media and their friends.
Set the family rules clearly in advance.
If you have set family rules, your child should clearly know what is acceptable and what is not. Rules and discipline is a must in every house. Many a time these rules will be challenged and so it is important to deal calmly and let them know the importance of discipline. They might not agree always with the rules but they should be aware about them.
Try to come to an agreement about the things that you want them to adhere to, like for e.g.,
- Internet and technology use.
- Exercise and physical activity
- Time spend with friends.
- Time to be spent on academics.
Bad behaviour should be discussed
It is important that children feel bad when they have hurt someone or done something wrong. Talk to them and tell them what you feel. This will lead them to think before they act in the future.
Handle their wrong decisions with care.
There will be times when you will be faced with some uncomfortable situations or mistakes made by them. Though difficult, handle the same with calmness. Discuss with them and make them understand their mistakes in order to avoid future repetitions. Try to help your teen to adopt good moral and ethical standards.
These are some of the broad guidelines that can help you in raising teenagers. Remember every child is different and every situation you face may be different, as there is no particular written script to follow all the guidelines.
Use your own wisdom and discretion to handle every situation. Finally, if you have brought them up with strong ethical values from early childhood, they are less likely to rebel. Happy Parenting.
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