It’s hard enough being a parent when you have all of your faculties, but parenting teens can be especially difficult due to their age and lack of experience. The good news is that many lessons will help guide your teen through life and make them better people. Here are six of them.
1. You’re their parent, not a friend
It’s nice to be friends with your kids, but remember that you’re still the parent! As much as you may want to help them make decisions, sometimes they need to learn from their own mistakes. Let them know that you’re there for them, but don’t force help on them if they don’t want it.
For instance, you have a teenage boy that’s going to prom in a few weeks. You could help your kid with their tuxedo rental and maybe being their ride to prom, but aside from those, there isn’t much you can do about the decisions they’re going to make on that night. You could just hope that everything you’ve taught them so far helps them make the right choice.
2. Give them space to make mistakes
On the off chance that your teenager does something wrong, it’s important that you not pounce on them with immediate judgment. If your teenager is angry or upset, they’re most likely not thinking clearly. Instead of getting them to admit to anything, simply ask them if they’re okay and talk later when everyone is calm.
For example, your teen is angry at you because they think you’re being unfair. If they come home from school and immediately yell at you, it’s time for a quick exit so you can maybe cool them off. Once they’ve calmed down, then you can talk and find out exactly what happened.
3. Teach them how to be independent
One day, you won’t be there to hold your kid’s hand through the tough times, which means they have to be able to stand on their own two feet. Your kids must learn how to do things by themselves, even if you can do it faster or better.
This is a great way to teach your teenager independence. For instance, you’re the one who cooks the most in your family, but if you teach your kids how to cook when they’re young, then when adulthood comes around, they’ll be able to knock dinner out of the park. This way, you won’t be the only one doing everything at home.
4. Encourage them to have hobbies outside of school
Since they’re still so young, your kids must get to experience other aspects of life. The school day can be long and stressful, so it’s important to give them a break. Encourage your children to find a hobby they love and do it as much as possible.
For instance, your son or daughter might love to read for fun. You can encourage them to go to the library and check out a bunch of books. If they’re into sports, then you can encourage them to join the local sports team. Whatever makes them happy, let them do it as much as possible, so they can be well-rounded when they’re officially an adult.
5. Be there for them when they need help or guidance
Your kids must know you’re there for them. They want to know that, no matter what happens in their lives, you’ll be there to help them learn from their mistakes. If you can’t physically be there for whatever reason, then give them the next best thing: a phone call.
As an example, your son or daughter is going through a rough time at school, and they just need to talk to someone. Since you’re at work, call them during your break and just chat with them about their day. Not only does this help them open up to you, but it also shows them you care about their lives as someone other than a parent.
6. Support their dreams and ambitions no matter what they are
Last but not least, you must support your kids no matter what they want to do in life. This is especially true if their dreams and ambitions don’t align with yours. They must know you’re there for them, even if you disagree or think their idea is a little crazy.
For example, your daughter wants to be a soccer player when she grows up. Although you’re not a fan of the sport, she must know you’re still 100% supportive of her. Instead of putting down her dreams, try to show an interest in what she loves. If she wants to be a soccer player, you can attend her games and cheer her on from the sidelines.
As a parent, it can be difficult to know how you can prepare your kids for the future. Luckily, many lessons will help them not only survive but also thrive in today’s world. So, do your best to guide your kid through life and help them become better people. Once they’re adults, they’ll be able to take everything you’ve taught them and use it to flourish in their own lives!