Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dealing with the Challenges of Parenting Teenagers

When you're a teenager, you have a tough time but when you're the parent of a teenager it seems so much worse. Having children who are big enough to take care of themselves may sound great until you consider the tantrums, the back talk and a million and one other things associated with teenagers. So what exactly can a parent do?

The first thing that parents of teenagers need to remember is: hormones, the struggle for independence and autonomy, couple with peer pressure and coupled with the fear of the future and their own inadequacies can send a teenager into a situation where they exhibit a behavior that is seemingly antisocial. The emotions of teenagers are subject to volatility and this volatility is usually expressed when they find people who they can easily vent to. The main thing is that parents should understand what their teenagers are going through but you shouldn't just allow them get away with everything.

One way that a parent can help their teenagers cope with the road to adulthood is by getting to know them. Experts tend to agree that taking the time out to be a companion to your teenagers and knowing them for who they are can easily foster a relationship of love and respect that can last for a number of years. Teens may not really like it when their parents intrude on their privacy but they like it when their parents show an interest in what is important to them at this particular stage of their life and development.

You should monitor the activities of your children and their friends at a distance. You should look out for any danger signs that may signify trouble such as a drop in grades, weight change, and terrible changes in sleeping patterns, depression or isolation. These things may all be strong signs of depression, drug use or disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.

When it comes to discipline, the teenage years can be fraught with power struggles between teenagers and the adults who rule the home. This is especially difficult especially when these teenagers think they're adults already. It is also important to encourage your teenagers to strive for a greater sense of emotional and physical independence but they should also understand that wayward behavior comes with consequences. You should stand strong with your teenagers in order to make their growing children understand who is in charge for the moment. A time will come for them to be on their own and make their own decisions but it isn't just the time yet.

These are just a few suggestions that could help you build a better parent and child relationship with your teenager during times that are rough and difficult to handle.

Remain Calm

Regardless of whether you're enforcing discipline or you're talking about a touchy subject, you should make sure that you use a neutral tone to tell your child who is charge. Calmness is also contagious too.

Focus On Your Child

Children and most especially teenagers need to know and understand that you're really listening to their own point of view and that you care about how they think and how they feel. You should focus on their interests even if they don't particularly interest you, listen and give praise when you feel they deserve it.

Be Straightforward with Your Expectations

Teens don't tend to respond well to any hints or suggestions. If you want your teenager to take out the garbage, you should tell them so directly.

Show Teenagers Respect

Remember to say please and thank you. When you speak kindly your children are bound to do the same too.

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