Parenting teenagers and relationship building are synonymous. Most parents think that the terrible twos is the hardest phase of raising a child. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. The teenager years can also come with a lot of grief if the right parenting skills are not used.
The teenage years are associated with numerous physiological and emotional changes. Parents have to understand that teenagers by nature are generally more energetic and inundated with ideas. The basic conflict between parent and child is the difference between what is right and wrong. So although teenage-hood is associated with some degree of conflict, developing strong relationships and understanding can help reduce problems during the years parenting teenagers.
The first signs of teenage growth are the desire to become independent and fit in with peers. It is at this time that conflicts start to occur between parent and the teenager.
Even though teenagers are full of ideas, the thinking may often be disjointed and not rational. The teen starts to form his or her opinions and often these ideas may appear to rebel against traditional parental beliefs. So how does one avoid these conflicts and still maintain a relationship with the teenager?
Parents who find ways to cope do much better at developing solid relationships with the teenager.
All parent-teenager relationships should start with some type of communication. This may range from schoolwork, friends, physical bodily changes, and personal likes and dislikes. The name of the game is to go slow and not overwhelm the teenager with lots of information. The earlier you start talking with your teenager, the easier it will be to overcome any conflicts later on. Share your own experiences as a teenager with your kids. Do not push advice but offer options. If your child makes a mistake, don't be overly judgmental but be understanding. Who does not make mistakes growing up! Learn to practice tolerance and show empathy when there is a need.
Most teenagers do not like parents to set expectations, but you must set some guidelines when it comes to things like grades, satisfactory conduct and observance of house rules. Once the rules are set, expect your child to break some regulations, but in most cases they will try to meet your expectations so as not to disappoint you if your relationship is strong. The biggest mistake parents make while parenting teenagers is avoiding certain subjects. It is better to be open to everything they want to share with you.
Get to know your teenager’s friends and their parents. Regular exchanges between parents can go a long ways to produce a safe atmosphere for all teenagers. Moreover, open communications also helps keep track of their actions.
Finally do become aware of warning signs of teenage difficulties like extreme weight gain /loss, acute change in personality, abrupt changes in friends, deteriorating grades, signs of tobacco/drug use and run in with law enforcement. Even though most parents mean well, it is vital that you do not invade their privacy. Do not listen on their phone calls and do not expect your teenager to tell you everything. Offer ample trust, love and acceptance to your teenager, and he or she will open up.