Once your child hits the teenage years, you will probably notice some changes in their behavior. It can be challenging and stressful for parents to deal with a teenager, so here we have some tips to help you handle the difficult moments.
1. Let them grow up
Your teenager may start to rebel against you as they get older and want to do their own thing. Let them have some independence, within reason, and let them go out alone with their friends. Unless their behavior is really becoming problematic, try to leave them alone. The more you persist and nag at them, the more likely they are to revolt.
2. Avoid arguing
If you and your teenager are disagreeing about something, it can be difficult not to get angry and shout. However, this is one of the worst things you can do, as it will just cause your child to get angrier, and you might end up saying something you don’t mean. Whilst it can be hard, it’s better to take some time out to calm down, then have a proper discussion later on.
3. Allow your child to experiment safely
If your teenager wants to experiment and starts showing risky behavior, try and help them channel this into something safer. If they want to start changing their appearance, let them wear different makeup or color their hair for example. Or go shopping for new clothes together if this is something your teenager would enjoy. These are great ways to give your teen some independence without any danger, unlike getting a piercing or a tattoo for example. If your child is becoming interested in the idea of experimenting with alcohol or drugs, they could perhaps try a new exciting sport to get their thrills in a safer way. Something like sailing or mountain biking could be a great new hobby for thrill-seeking teenagers.
4. Allow yourself time to relax and de-stress
Parenting a teenager can be stressful and exhausting at times. Try to set aside time for yourself each day, when you can do a favorite activity or just have some quiet time alone. Don’t feel ashamed about treating yourself from time to time if you feel you need it. Try to remember that your teenager will become an adult soon and the phase of challenging behavior will pass.
5. Reward your teen
You might find it helpful to praise your teen for co-operating with you. Get them a small gift once in a while, or make their favorite meal for dinner if they have had a good day. This will make them feel more positive, and more likely to keep behaving well. Buzzparent is a parenting website with lots of great gift ideas for children of all ages from babies to teenagers. You’ll also find parenting tips and advice to help with all stages of your child’s development.
5. Try and keep calm
Many teenagers behave badly because they want to feel more in control and fight for power. It’s important not to let your child see that they are getting to you with their bad behavior, as this will make them feel like they’ve won. No matter how angry or upset you are becoming, take some time out to cool off. You’ll be able to think more clearly if you can keep reasonably calm, rather than acting on impulse.
6. Be assertive
Parents need to effectively communicate with their teenage children, although this can be difficult, to begin with. Make sure you explain the consequences if your child doesn’t do what you have agreed they would. You also need to make sure you listen to your child if and when they want to talk, especially about important matters. Try to let them finish what they are saying without interrupting, and offer your point of view afterward.
7. Create a set of house rules
Pick a suitable time for the family to sit down together and set out a list of rules. Try not to be unreasonable – this is a great way to discuss with your teenager what is acceptable and what isn’t. Teenagers might deliberately try and challenge the rules, so it’s important to be firm and consistent when enforcing the rules. You need to find a line between disciplining your teenager too much and too little. With too much discipline, your teenager will become more and more frustrated, and will just want to rebel against you even more. They might also miss out on important developmental milestones if you don’t let them get out and get involved in different activities. At the same time, you shouldn’t fear to discipline your teenager as this can have consequences, too.
Hopefully, some of these tips have been helpful to you as the parent of a teenager. Remember, no matter how challenging your teen’s behavior may seem just now, it is a normal part of growing up. Your teenager will soon grow into an adult and their hormones will settle down. As with all stages, children go through, the difficult behaviors of teenagers will soon pass, so try not to worry that your teen is going to grow into a difficult adult.
Emily Dick is a mom and has several years of experience being a parent. She currently holds an Honors Degree in social science from the Open University. She lives in Scotland, raising her daughter Daisy, aged 2, and her two cats.
Emily is new to the world of writing and blogging, and currently writes for buzzparent.com on topics such raising children, kids toys, ranging from baby to toddler discourse. Her love of animals and children has made her one of the main writers for Buzzparent.
There are many areas that interest her, and she is always researching about new topics learning from the best in the industry and is a big fan of ted.com, which is where all the best in the business share their thoughts about topics of interest. She believes that everything is interconnected in ways both visible and invisible, but what remains constant is that nothing is actually constant, especially in parenting.