It takes a village, they say, to raise a child. Well it also takes as many hints, tips, and tricks as possible to make your life easier and to build a stronger relationship with your child. That doesn’t mean your little bundle of joy will make it easy for you as they grow older. Your child has three different phases: toddler, tween, and teen. Over the past few blog posts, we have brought you “Parenting Tips for Toddlers” and “Parenting Tips For Tweens.” It’s now time to dive into the teen years. Here’s to making the three T’s more enjoyable for you and your child.
|You can’t be the boss all the time. Your teen is gaining independence and will be more likely to rebel if they are feeling micromanaged. By having a more friendly relationship with them, they will trust your advice and respect your guidance.
|Friends. Teenagers tend to trust their peers more than their parents. It is important to get to know your teen’s friends so they feel more accepted and you can rest easy knowing who they are hanging out with.
|Set goals. This is an important time for teenagers, as college is on the horizon. Work with them to set goals that they want to achieve and always let them know you are there to help.
|Family meetings. Set family meetings every week, like Sunday breakfast, and check in with the whole family. Even if your teen thinks it’s “lame,” it lets them know they are still part of the family and the family will play an active role in their life.
|Sex, Drugs, and Alcohol. These are the toughest talks you will have with your teen. They get information from their friends, but it is important that you tell them the real consequences in life that could come from these things. Having an open dialogue will make it less taboo for your teen, and they will be less tempted to try them.
|Setting boundaries. Your teen might be driving or staying out later with friends now. Make sure you both agree on limits and consequences for breaking those limits. If you both work to set them, it will be a reasonable punishment that they won’t be able to argue with.
|Positive Parenting. Establish a “together time” with your teen either after school or before bed. Take some time to chat with your teen about the day.
|Good self-care. You might be surprised by how much your teenager can sleep, but they need at least 9 hours for their growing bodies. Encourage healthy eating and exercise habits by setting a good example.
|Computer time. Keep computers in common areas. Your teen might be active on social media and the internet, but if you are able to keep an eye on them it will discourage any bad behavior.
|Stay connected. The best way to parent your teen is to have a strong bond with them. Make sure all lines of communication are open and your teen knows that they can trust you. Every experience can be learned from, good or bad; reward the good but don’t be quick to punish the bad. If you help your teen learn from their mistakes they will respect you and ask for advice more frequently.