Teenager. Now, that is a word that is either exciting or daunting for parents. Raising a teenager is a challenging role. Many teenagers often think that they know everything and that their parents are old-fashioned, overdramatic, overprotective, overbearing, pessimistic and strict.
I hope you agree with me that at one stage in our life, we all thought this way. I sure did. I am sharing my opinion and tips on how to deal with teenagers based on my experience. Maybe this post could help some parents or guardians with teenagers. Here are the strategies were effective with my sons who are now aged 27, 24 and 18:
1. Be more understanding and more loving to your teenager.
The teenager doesn’t know what is happening with him. He is undergoing many hormonal and bodily changes. He doesn’t know how to act: whether as an adult or as a kid. He faces body image issues, skin problems and peer pressure. Adolescence is called the “storms and stress” stage. Teenagers crave attention. They either resort to doing bad things or excessive achievements just to be noticed.
Parents need to be more loving, more understanding, more caring, more supportive and more patient to the teenager. Show appreciation and acknowledgement in everything he does no matter how small the accomplishment or gesture is. Focus on the positive side of your teenager. This way, he will excel more. Of course you have to discipline him if needed.
Hug him and pat him on his shoulder or any show of love and affection just so he knows that no matter what happens, you, the parents will always be there for him. To him, home will always be his refuge, his haven.
2. Give him more time to rest.
A teenager stays up late at night and wakes up very late in the morning. He sleeps and eats a lot or quite the opposite. Let him sleep in (except on school days of course). Provide various nutritious food for his maximum growth and development.
3. Be good to him in front of his friends.
A teenager thinks his friends are more precious and more fun to be with than his family. He would rather spend time with his friends than with his family. Sometimes, he doesn’t even want to go with his family anywhere.
So when his friends come over to your house or when you meet his friends somewhere, you have to respect him in front of his friends because he thinks the world about them. Never say bad comments about him in front of them. Never tell his secrets to his friends either. And do not be too showy of your love for him in front of his friends because he will be embarrassed.
4. Get to know his friends.
Strive, not try, to know his friends by name. Call his friends by their names. This way, your teenager will feel that you really know and care about his friends. Knowing his friends will also give you peace of mind if you know that he is in good company. Peer pressure is very strong at this point. You have to make sure that your kid is following the good crowd. If you see that your teenager is with the wrong crowd then at least you still have the time to solve the problem.
5. Trust him and show that you believe in him.
Trust your teenager. Show that you trust him, that you know that he will always follow the right path. Your faith in your teenager will really make him feel good. He will think that I have to do this because my dad and my mom will be happy and be proud of me. The worse for him to think is, “It really doesn’t matter because my parents won’t believe me anyway. They don’t really care.”
6. Have rules in your family.
Children will be more accountable, more responsible and more secure if they have rules to follow. Be specific of what is expected of everyone in the family. Make your rules as a family and follow them as a family. Parents should be the first to model the rules.
7. Support your teenager.
Support your teenager in his interests, hobbies and likes. If he likes that hairstyle, go for it. It doesn’t really matter because that hair can grow. If he likes to do something, then allow him as long as he knows his priorities, limitations and responsibilities.
8. Make time for the teenager.
By all means, have a time when you can have one-on-one chat with your teenager when he can share his activities for the day, his problems, his struggles, his joys and his ideas. He will feel more loved and more important if you take interest in his life.
In our family, it is during dinner that we have the sharing time. We turn off all distractions: mobile phones, computers, television and enjoy each other’s company.
9. Encourage your teenager to join church activities.
Come to think of it. We tell our kids to go to school, to take of their health, to be mindful of their manners, etc., why can we not encourage them to join church activities? Their spiritual life is the most important factor to focus on.
When I was younger, I used to think that education is the best inheritance that parents can give to their children. Today, I believe that education is secondary. The best inheritance parents can give to their children is the faith and fear in the Lord. If children have unwavering faith, parents can be rest assured that no matter what trials and challenges their kids will face in life, they will always choose the right path because of their solid foundation.
Proverbs 22:6 tells us: Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
10. Pray without ceasing for your teenager.
I saved the best for last. Yes, we sure do our best as parents. We love our kids unconditionally. We practically do everything for them. We sacrifice our personal happiness for them. We give our best and want the best for them. But we cannot do this parenting by ourselves. We need God to give us the wisdom and the guidance to be the kind of parents that He intended us to be when He blessed us with children.
We cannot be there for our children at all times. We have to pray without ceasing for them, no matter how old they are. We have no control once they leave our home. But we believe that God will always be there to protect them no matter where they are or who they are with.
We pray for wisdom, discernment, blessings, safety, and strength for them. We also pray for sensible friends, for empathetic teachers and insightful mentors for them.
There you go! These are the ways how my husband and I raised our sons. Maybe you want to share how you raised or are raising your teenager. Thank you.