Everyone is aware of troublesome teenagers, even those who have no kids. Teenage is steeped in the mystery period of hormonal changes, mood swings, and almost uncontrollable kids.
While everyone is different, what is really true, is emotional sensitivity strengthened by the desperate desire to be independent and adult-ish. It’s evident that teenagers need to learn a lot about their behavior and style of communication, however, a part of the responsibility lies with both sides, as parents need to understand how to communicate with their kids as well.
When looking for a proper style of behavior and communication, consider the following guidelines to follow:
1. Quit reporting
Teenagers are on the way to turning into adolescents, they want to be independent and cool. They need a chance to prove to others their worth. However, that’s not going to happen if you call them every break asking about the lessons or whether they had lunch, or real-time location every time they go somewhere. Such behavior is simply embarrassing.
It’s obvious that parents are worried about their kids, as times now are very challenging in terms of safety. However, try an invisible control and install a tracking app (but discuss it preliminary discuss it with the kids).
A tracking app like Find My Kids is a safety net, and a backup plan, as you can always check the location of kids, and they always have the access to the emergency mode; besides, you can also listen to the kid’s surroundings, which can be a lifesaver sometimes. Clearly, you can’t use the app every time and ask teens why they were staying somewhere for so long, as you will compromise the efficiency of the application and lose trust as a parent.
2. Be a parent and a friend
Nobody knows for sure where this balance is, yet it’s something to strive for. As a parent, you are responsible for the upbringing and well-being of a child, that’s why you set rules and tone for everything. Being a parent is being a grown-up, the one who makes decisions, says “NO”, and is always in charge. It is important to set reasonable boundaries for the kid’s behavior as they will always try your patience and want to extend their freedom.
Being a friend for teen kids is also important, but again, within reasonable boundaries. Some take the idea of friendship mistakenly, thinking it’s mainly about the liberal style of communication and all-permissiveness. Such an approach can be appreciated by kids, as that’s something they strive for, however, that’s a straight way to problems.
Instead, choose the ‘I will always be there for you’ style. It means listening without judging and accepting without criticizing and being authoritative. Just be the person to rely on in the moment of need.
3. Quality time
Everyone needs time, it’s our primary language of love. Quality time is about direct communication and spending time together without any additional things to do (especially the phones). Have a walk, play the board game, have a regular meal together, etc. Quality time is about hearty talks, the ones when there’s no need to wear masks or pretend that “yeap, everything is fine at school”. It’s a chance to feel free from the roles, open your heart and just be close to people you trust.
When the teens were kids, they probably had reading time, which is a good example of quality time, and a long-expected part of the day. The same works with teens, but probably not reading this time 😉 Choose an activity you can do together and talk meanwhile, it will bring you closer, and create special bonds, the ones that keep warmth inside in moments of difficulty.
We all know how overscheduled days of parents are, especially when they combine work, sometimes studying, and parenting. They often jump through hoops to provide kids with all the best stuff, however, it’s rarely appreciated. It’s the question of a balance of priorities. By being just a breadwinner, you will fail to have a parental connection with kids and lose precious time for communication.
4. Balance the level of engagement
And here comes ‘balance’ again. It’s vital for a parent to be actively involved in the teen’s life. However, don’t get too engaged, asking about everything. Let the teen come and tell you, rather than just pry out all the details.
5. Don’t ban, explain
Banning is a straight way to rebelliousness, even if it’s life-saving. Everything that is forbidden will double or triple the desire to obtain it at any price. So, what’s the solution then? Explanations. Give reasons for everything you don’t allow to do. Every time they break the rules, explain the reason for punishment. Even now your communication is a key to understanding, as otherwise, with every ‘it’s unfair’ statement, bricks of misunderstanding will build the walls between you.
Being a teenage parent is often a dilemma, as your need to find a golden middle between being the one in charge and being a friend. Don’t be too strict, as you will be excluded from the trust list; just be there for your children, after all, you had the same period of growth, and remember how difficult it was to keep up with all the changes. Be a supportive guide and let your children find their way.