The hardest part of being a parent of a teenager is watching a child go through
something really tough and not being able to fix it for them. All you are doing is all
you can do.
Broadly, parenting has four distinct phases: (1) Infancy (2) Childhood (3)
Adolescence and (4) Adulthood.
Infancy is the easier part because the child is still a part of yourself. All you have to
do is to take care of their physiological needs and keep them emotionally happy. This is the time to connect with them. Hold them close to your chest. Their rhythm of happiness synchronizes with your heart beats. Make eye connection and smile.
Touch them enough because more than vision and sound, they recognize your touch.
Childhood is the phase when the child recognizes his/her own existence in this
world. They are learning to speak but they have been listening all the while and
absorbing, learning, listening. They couldn’t remember the words but they recognize your tone. They imitate your habits. Your child will follow your example, not your advice.
This stage of the child is critical in a manner because around this time, working
parents think the child is on his/her own and they engross in their work. A major
disconnect happens between the parent and the child. This disconnect makes the
teenage parenting the most troublesome part. If you have invested enough time with them during their childhood, then you are more likely to walk them through their adolescence. Peggy O’ Mara said: “The way we talk to our children, becomes their inner voice.”
As they step into adolescence, they are neither children nor adults. They are no more limited to your guidance or that of their teachers. There is an overload of
information, both right or wrong. Their capacity to process the information remains limited. The first step of validating their discoveries begins with their peers and they are only as smart as themselves. If they ask you questions to find answers, you are lucky. It shows that they trust you for your advice. However, that does not guarantee that they will agree with you. Respect the dissidence and agree to disagree.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: “My father used to say don’t raise your voice,
improve your argument.” They love to argue, so argue without getting excited, and
without yelling at them. Yelling would make them disconnected with you forever.
Also, needless to state that never hit your child. Do not enter the arena of subjugating with physical prowess. It will cost you, dear.
Here are 16 important tips to help you parent teenagers.
1. Accept their individuality:
They aren’t adults yet, but a child gets most of his/her blueprints completed by the time they are seven. After that, if you think you have a better idea, you can’t impose but sell it to them.
2. Do not be over possessive:
Do not hover over them and do not breathe onto their neck all the time. Allow them some space and privacy of their own. Keep a distant watch. It is like flying a kite. Leave enough loose string for them to move forward but tug it as they try to go overboard.
3. Do not be overprotective:
It will make them weak and in-confident. Let them not always look up for your help with everything. Let them cook on fire, let them fall while learning to ride a bike, let them take some limited risks in life. Once they conquer their fear with their own experiences, they will emerge as independent beings.
4. Give them their freedom to make choices:
You should not decide always on their behalf what they should wear, what they should eat. Yes, do talk to them and leave your suggestions in a manner they become their inner voice but that’s it.
5. Teach them they shall be responsible for the consequences of their own actions:
They must learn that they have to pay for consequences for whatever they do.
6. No freebies:
Introduce a reward point system. Not only for their good academic grades but also for helping with the chores, etc. They can encash these points to buy something big of their own choice.
7. Pamper them and spoil them sometimes because only you can:
Let them know they are special to you. Let them know you are their reserve bank for unconditional love.
8. Gain their trust:
Let them seek your advice without the fear of being judged.
9. Teach them to distinguish between right and wrong:
Do not take decisions on their behalf. Guide them on how to make their own decisions.
10. Teach them financial prudence:
Always take them with you to buy groceries. Hand them the list to pick things. Show them how to compare things wisely. Make them check the bills. Teach them the value of money. They should understand the concept of cost of living.
11. Listen to them:
Listen to understand their point of view. It is also your responsibility to bridge the generation gap.
12. Sacrifice sometimes to set an example:
If you smoke or drink at home, can you tell them not to? Control your own urge to set the right example.
13. Appreciate them for every good they do:
This way they will try to do more good to win your appreciation.
14. Admonish them when they are wrong:
However, do not ridicule endlessly and never shame them in presence of others. Never scold them repeatedly for one incident. Let it go.
15. Give them your time:
That’s the best gift they need from you. Don’t get away cheap by substituting your not giving time with expensive gifts. Create that mutual bonding. Have a family time together and indulge in common activities. It could be something as mundane as playing a board game or watching a movie together. Just do it.
16. Do not fight or curse with spouse or family in presence of your children:
They will develop hate in relationships and won’t understand family values. These tips are inclusive but not conclusive. Every family is unique and so is every child. In their formative years, they should begin with obedience, but as they grow, they have to become decisive. They have to make their experiments and gather their
own experiences. Once they are adults, just step out of their way. Let them fly, even if that means they are moving out of your nest. Never try to control them and ever
impose yourself on their family. You played your innings and now it is their turn.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vikram Khaitan is an author, mentor, creator and an enthusiastic speaker. He is a
seeker and philosopher who looks beyond the existing challenges to find solutions for the future. His keen sense of observation and comprehension of life makes him look at things differently. He brings across solutions to help improve life, develop a
positive attitude, enhance the thought process, improve career, money & finance, health, relationships and the mind.
Vikram is a bestselling author with successful books in a row.
a) The Secrets To A Magical Life
b) How To Grow Rich & Become Wealthy
c) Master The Art Of Ageing Gracefully
d) Life Transformation with the Bhagavad Gita
e) Supernatural Romance
f) Midnight Thrillers
g) Seeds of Advice
He is also a creator on YouTube with his unique show “Sip n Talk with Vikram”
where he brings out interesting stories out of people and their experiences and also brings out lovely book reviews.
The views expressed in this article are of the guest blogger and the views/opinions belong solely to the original blogger and this does not necessarily represent the views and opinions expressed in this website.