If you find yourself struggling with how to raise your teenager, your not alone. We all know that kids come in all shapes, sizes, moods, and emotions, but teenagers are a whole different species. Although we raise these little angels for years, it’s hard to prepare for the changes coming our way. If you are just approaching the teenage years, or already in the thick of it, it’s never too late for some helpful tips.
After spending so much time with a child, you would think that raising them as a teenager wouldn’t be much different. Shouldn’t they just be an older more mature, independent version of their child like self? Sometimes that might be the case, however, there are days it may feel as though they are trying to raise you.
Toddlers Vs. Teens
These tiny teenaged adults might think they know more than we do. It’s easy for them to think they are alone, and believe we will never understand what they are going through. Now is the time to be observant. As you sit back and watch your child develop their personality, have you noticed some similarities between toddlers and teens?
|Raising a Toddler:||Raising a Teenager:|
|Toddlers typically will try to eat everything within reaching distance||Same- Prepare yourself as well as your grocery budget. They never seem to get full.|
|Need to be taught to wear seatbelts, helmets, and look both ways to cross the street||Now they need to be reminded on a daily basis to do the same. They need to be taught they are not invincible, and it can indeed happen to them.|
|Test boundaries of how far they can push the limits||Same-They may start to test boundaries on driving, curfews, homework, friends, etc. Prepare yourself for battle.|
|Can go from being blissfully happy to and angry demon like creature in a matter of seconds||Same- mood swings can be intense, and unexplainable. Be understanding that it doesn’t make sense to them either.|
|Can be wildly impulsive- need to be taught to think before we act||Can be wildly impulsive- need to be reminded daily to think before we act.|
|Thrive themselves on being independent-THEY DON’T NEED HELP||Same- Even though as parents, we have the urge to still do things for them, they can do hard things. They don’t always need help.|
|Can fall asleep anywhere no matter the distractions||Can sleep til past noon, no questions asked.|
|Love showing off every little thing they can do, every second of the day.||Have immense sense of self, and can talk about ones self for any amount of time you allow them. So let them!|
|Will bold face lie about something obvious||They might lie to save face even about the simple things.|
How To Establish A Healthy Relationship With Your Teen
Becoming a parent of a teenager can be rewarding, like when we would watch them as a sleeping toddler after a meltdown. As parents, we can set the tone of that teenager/parent relationship early on. Remember that relationships are two-sided and we can do our part to enforce positivity. Notice some similarities between what you were like as a teen and them. What do you do the same? What do you do different? We were there once too, and remembering our own experience might help see their reasoning in difficult situations.
Here are a few tips to set the stage for a successful relationship with your teen:
- Let your child talk. Be willing to listen and you will become that safe place for them to talk even as a teenager.
- Do your best to validate their ideas. We know that kids love to feel important, as do teens and adults. Don’t be too quick to disregard that they may have something to add to an important situation.
- Finding a way to relate to them during tough times can help them to know someone else has been there.
- Spend time with them while setting the expectation early on that quality time is important. As they get older they may start to pull away, and there will be times it’s okay to let go. Stand firm on those family moments, but validate them that their time with friends will be important to them.
- Talk about how important friendships are. Share any experiences you have had with friends you grew up with, and friends you still have. How did those friendships impact your life? As parents, we can value our kids friendships as much as they do. Invite them into your home if you are comfortable with it. Let your home be a safe place for them to come.
- It is important to establish the difference between being their friend and being their parent. There will be times that it’s okay to be the friend and emotional support that they are looking for. Have fun with them, while allowing them to see your inner child come out. There will also be times that the temptation to be the cool parent will be strong. If the circumstances call for it, don’t be afraid to stand your ground. They won’t be happy, but will eventually learn to respect that you have the final word.
Mood Swings In Teens
One of the first signs you may see in a pre-teen might be their infamous mood swings. Firstly, they can come out of nowhere and secondly, will often makes no sense. Although mood swings are a normal part of childhood, they can also be caused by a hormonal change during puberty.
As you notice these mood swings happening more often, it can be a good time to talk with them. Let them know there will be times that they know they are being irrational, and it’s ok. But, talk about ways you can help them through those moments. Sometimes we all need a time out. So, if needed, let them have a moment of peace as they adapt to the moment. All teens go through some pretty intense changes, but keep in mind boys and girls will adapt to changes differently. Here are 10 more helpful tips to help as you raise your teenage daughter.
Teens and Technology
While this journey you’re on may be difficult, the rewards can be great. Validate yourself every time you have moment of positivity with your teen. As you are navigating through difficult moments for the first time, remember they are too. Although we were once teens, times are different. As your teen adapts to using technology, such as social media, it will be a whole new experience. Raising a teenager who is a part of the social media craze can be difficult if you are not involved. Keep this tips handy:
- Do your research, kids are fast learners. Educate yourself on what kids are involved with when it comes to technology.
- Let them know that you will be an active participant from the start
- Know what apps they have. In todays world, there are many hidden apps that look fine on the surface, but can be cause for concern.
- Be aware that taking a device a way does not always take away the problem. Kids are resourceful.
There are many resources out there for kids to learn how to bypass restrictions you place on their devices. It is easy to assume that our children would never do something they know they shouldn’t. Unfortunately, the pressure they can feel to be in certain social circles can be overwhelming. Talk often, and establish rules that work best for your circumstances. The road to adulthood can be challenging, but enjoy the moments. The journey may feel long, but before you know it they will be preparing to go off on their own. We can all look forward to the day that they will be raising teens themselves.