Parenting Teens Through the Tough Stuff

Being a parent is both rewarding and challenging at every age. While caring for infants and young children is often more physically demanding, parenting teens and adolescents can come with a unique set of demands that are emotionally and mentally draining. While there will be plenty of wins and losses when it comes to raising resilient and happy teenagers, you can set yourself up for success in more difficult situations when you adopt some healthy parenting practices.

Set a Firm Foundation

The best way to raise your teenagers well is to start when they’re young. Boundaries are very important in every household and relationship, and you should start enforcing the important ones while your children are still small. Hold them accountable for helpful tasks that are manageable for their age. Give them the freedom to make choices when it’s logical, but allow them to experience the consequences from their decisions. Reinforce that your children should obey not just because you’re the adult, but because your goal is to keep them healthy, happy and safe. While it’s never too late to improve as a parent, it is unrealistic to expect your teen to start behaving or treating others a certain way when it was never required before.

Foster a Home Full of Open Communication

It can be difficult and nearly impossible to help your teen if you can’t find out what’s causing a problem. Long before any major crisis comes, make sure you’re creating a home where your children feel completely safe and comfortable respectfully venting, confiding in you and asking you questions. No matter how silly or embarrassing the content, never make your children feel self-conscious for asking how the world works. Make sure your kids understand that in some situations it is necessary for you to intervene due to your responsibility as a parent. In other situations, make a habit of simply asking your child if they need you to encourage them, take action or simply be a good listener.

Speak Directly About Important Issues

If you have concerns about major lifestyle choices in your child’s life, make sure you aren’t avoiding the topic. Don’t just offer broad moral advice about being a good person. Instead, speak directly about the important issues your child is facing or will face in appropriate detail at every age. Talk to your teens about societal pressure and the likely consequences of poor choices. Unprotected and rampant sexual activity can be both physically and psychologically damaging. Dabbling in drug and alcohol use can quickly lead them to devastating situations and may prompt consultations for Texas Drug Rehab. Participating in or silently enduring bullying can lead to serious, life-changing consequences. Talk about what’s really causing the desire for certain behaviors and don’t shy away from discussing the damage they can do.

Remember That You’re All Human

It’s critical to have standards that you use to hold your children accountable for their actions. While it’s important to reinforce the rules on a regular basis, keep in mind that every child and every situation is unique. Treating your children fairly doesn’t always equate to treating them all the same when it comes to poor choices. In addition, there is huge value in showing your kids some grace from time to time; it’s an important character trait to pass on to your children, but they can’t model it if they don’t receive it. In the same context, you should remind your children and yourself that you are human too. Everyone makes mistakes, and as a parent, you’ll make plenty. Ask forgiveness from your kids when it’s appropriate and keep learning and growing together.

Parenting teenagers can be overwhelming and downright frightening at times. But if you create a healthy home and build strong relationships with your kids from a young age, you can successfully parent your teens through the tough stuff.

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