Four Ways To Preparing Your Child To Become A Teen
Many parents dread the day their child becomes a teenager. There’s a serious stigma surrounding teens that is often deserved but also slightly exaggerated.
This can present a host of problems and challenges for parents, but it also represents critical opportunities.
Although they will never admit it, teens need their parents more than ever before. Instead of focusing on “losing your baby,” parents can welcome the new opportunities they’ll have being the parent of a teenager.
With some smart preparation, this important time in your child’s life can be a time of amazing growth and positive development.
Create Healthy Independence
The number one thing your teenage child is looking for at this stage of development is independence and respect for their individuality. While it’s the hardest thing for most parents to come to terms with, a teenager is looking to become their own separate person.
This is often exaggerated in their behavior as they become remarkably less communicative and generally don’t want to do anything with parents. They may reject certain values or family activities they once enjoyed.
This attitude leaves many parents at a loss of what to do with their teen. Should they intrude on them?
Ignore them and give them space? It can be difficult to find the right balance, and it’s important for both the teen’s development and the parent-child relationship you as the parent work to find that balance.
Teens still need healthy limits and reasonable expectations.
No matter how rebellious they may act, they want parents to be parents. They are subconsciously looking for that authority and will develop for the better if they have good limits.
Respect is the most important. A teen wants to know you respect them and the changes they are going through.
Showing interest in what they like and want without being intrusive or insincere can go a long way.
Be on the Same Page with Your Spouse
Teenagers are always looking to test the limits. They often become masters of manipulation and knowing where they can get what they want.
Two parent households have the added struggle of at least two adults and possibly others who have some level of authority.
Have a private discussion about rules and limits in advance and get everything in order.
The worst thing to do is send your teen mixed messages about what is okay and what’s not.
Be sure to cover all the bases in your discussion. This includes obvious things like homework and school work, curfew and chores.
Discussion of boyfriends and girlfriends, family activities and consequences for breaking the rules are also important.
Get Them a Cell Phone and Talk about Using It
There’s no question cellphones and being online are a critical part of any modern teenager’s life. A cell phone is probably the number one thing any teenager wants.
While many parents hold off as long as possible getting their kid a phone, there are many important reasons why they should have one. Phones:
- Allow communication, especially between the parent and child.
- Can actually encourage the teen to be responsible and give them an option if they’re in an unsafe situation.
Have a talk about your expectations with calling and that your teen should be checking in with you if they go to a party or some event late at night.
The best thing you can give your teen is the confidence they can call you if they are in trouble or might be getting into an unsafe situation. Teens are likely to talk a lot and use data on their phones.
Be sure to get them a plan that includes unlimited talk, text and data. There’s nothing worse for your budget than getting a phone bill with hundreds of dollars of overage charges.
Paying a little more upfront is worth the hassle, expense and arguments.
Think of Ways You Can Be a Role Model
Your role-modeling days are far from over when you have a teen. In fact, teenagers will be looking to you as a role model almost as much as they did when they were little.
They may be far less obvious about it, but they are definitely watching. Teenagers will be able to pick up on a lot more subtleties in your behavior, and they will be in tune to different things.
Social interaction and respect is key. Your teen is looking at how you treat them and other people in your life as a clue to how they should treat people.
The teenage years don’t have to be all about strife and arguments and feeling like you’ve lost your kid to the terrors of adolescence. If you are prepared to handle this important stage of your child’s development you can make the most of it, help them grow into amazing adults and strengthen the precious relationship you have with them.
There’s more to parenting than providing shelter, food, and other necessities. Talking to your teen about important moral decisions is another primary responsibility for a parent.
There five crucial conversations a parent should have with their teen, it can help them determine how they will continue to live their life and how your relationship with your teen will turn out.