There’s nothing quite like raising a teenager. You need to both help them and challenge them. You need to provide a safe environment where trust can be fostered, while still providing reasonable discipline. And in today’s world, that is no easy task.
Treat Them With Respect
Teens are at the point in their lives when they are starting to want more autonomy. And that’s a good thing! Respect comes right along with that. You should respect how your teen feels. Just because they’re younger and more inexperienced doesn’t mean that their thoughts, opinions, or feelings are less valid than yours. Of course, you need to have boundaries that help protect them from danger, but there’s no reason you should feel the need to constantly assert your authority over them. Show them unconditional love and support no matter what. Listen to them first and foremost, and show that you are indeed listening.
Meet Their Needs
All children have needs, but teens gradually will need more and more than an average child. They need their material needs met, of course – teenagers are growing and need to eat quite a bit of well-rounded, nutritious food. But they also need emotional needs met. Teens need caring and stable adults in their life to help them succeed. They need someone they can lean on and trust in hard times. Being a teenager is inherently difficult for just about everybody, after all. Make sure that they have emotional resources. That might be close friends their age. It should include you, too. You can also have them talk to a professional therapist if necessary since mental health should definitely be a priority.
Teens are taking their first baby steps toward being fully-fledged adults. As well as providing an abundance of unconditional support, you should encourage them to take steps outside their comfort zone. That could include trying to get a summer job. It could include setting up their own doctor’s appointments. It could include teaching them how to make their own meals. Laundry and basic household chores should be well-known by every adult. However it may manifest, you should start helping your teen prepare to become autonomous and self-sufficient.
Teenagers need stability while they’re going through an inherently unstable period in their life. They need parents that they can depend on. If you learn how to best show them love, and you ensure that you’ll always be there for them, you will be successful.
Check out this article on what you can do to instill confidence in your teen daughter!