Parenting Your Teenager with Love and Support
By: Christina Botto
You find yourself begging your teen to go places with the family. As soon as your teen gets into the car with you, he begins complaining about you or his life, and how miserable everything in his world is. In just a few minutes of being within the same five-foot radius of one another, the two of you are already in an argument.
There may have been times you regretted asking your teen to join you on your daily activities. No matter where you go, or what you do, your teen seems to find something to complain about. You are purchasing the wrong items, the whole trip is "so ridiculous," you are just the worst parent ever, and he hates his life!
You were always able to get along and had so much fun when you went out together, no matter what the activity was. Now you have to deal with an obstinate, argumentative and rebellious teenager. No matter what you do or how hard you try, you are unable to connect on any level with your child. You find yourself asking what you did wrong, where did your sweet baby go, and where did this hostile teenager come from?
Instead of getting frustrated or angry, remember that teens everywhere believe their life is just a depressing, revolting state of time and they wish everything from their parents, to their friends, to their clothes, to their body, was different.
Teens begin to reject all the things they relate to their childhood and being a child. They no longer want you to do things for them, or to be at their sports events. They stop following your advice because, in their mind, that would be the same as still being a child and not a growing adult.
Your teenager’s emotions will go up and down constantly while he is learning to be more independent and is trying to discover and recognize his individual personality.
Where is your teenager today, and where do you want him to be when he graduates high school? Think for a minute about this tremendous change. Reflect on all the various areas in which he will have to gain experience, and the decisions that he will have to learn to make.
Your son or daughter will have to learn everything from washing clothes to earning a living to handling personal relationships. He will have to decide if he will go to college, what his field of study will be, what profession he wants to pursue, and which college to go to. He will get a driver’s license, and will start going his own way instead of going along with the rest of the family.
In order to build a good relationship with your teenager, you need to realize these emotional changes your teen is going through. Give your teenager more and more responsibility and allow him to make more and more decisions about his life. Give him enough space to develop, while standing by to help.
Instead of telling your child what to do and expect him to listen, you will have a better relationship with your teen if you change to a more management-like approach to parenting your teenager.
5 ways to build a better relationship with your teenager during this difficult time:
• Treat him like the individual he is
• Ask his opinion first
• Don't judge or elaborate on his failures. Instead, help him to resolve problems
• Take time to listen
• Stay active in your teen's life
During this time of extreme insecurity, it is very important to show your teenager love and support.
Your support lessens the chances that he will make a mistake. Even if he does have a lapse in judgment, he will come to you before any part of the situation gets worse - if he knows that you care and are ready to listen without judgment.
A teenager who is confident in your support will think situations through more clearly, be less prone to any form of peer pressure, and will therefore get into less trouble than a teenager who feels that he must deal with everything on his own.
As parents, we need to be there for them if they fail or make a wrong choice. We need to be careful not to underestimate our teenager and, at the same time, not to ask too much of them too soon, thus discouraging them from making decisions. We need to encourage and support them, and teach them that what they do will affect their future life.
Christina Botto is the author of Help Me With My Teenager! A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents that Works and Fitting The Pieces. For tools and resources to help you better understand and relate to your teen, or help with specific issues visit her web site at Parenting A Teenager.
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