Parenting A Teenager - What You Need To Know About It. - Lexicon

You’ve probably picked up this article because you want practical, accurate and user-friendly information to help you raise your teen. You want to know what’s considered normal adolescent behavior, how to determine whether your child is on a good path, how to encourage his/her healthy development and how to get help when problems arise. There are many new things influencing teens today, but your parenting role is as important today as ever before. Spending time and strengthening your relationship with your teen is the best investment in his/her future, just as it was when he/she was a child. Today’s pressures on teens come in different forms than in previous generations, but pressure is pressure, and to a teen it can seem overwhelming at times. Parents may also feel overwhelmed with the problems and situations teens bring home, especially when some of these didn’t exist when they were growing up, like Internet bullying or chat rooms.

Many parents feel they would benefit from advice about how to meet their teens’ needs, how to promote maturity and responsibility, and ways to avoid danger. It’s true that adolescence is the most dangerous period of development, especially from ages 16 to 19, and even extending to age 24, when many finish their college or university studies and save a bit of money before leaving (or being gently nudged from) the family nest. After age 16, the combination of greater access to adult privileges such as driving, extended curfews, alcohol and other drugs, empty family homes or even separate living arrangements makes this age ripe for trouble. But, the image of teens as immature, fun seeking and irresponsible is overblown and inaccurate. The vast majority of teens emerge from this period unscathed—especially when their parents or caregivers practice effective parenting and do their utmost to prepare, not scare, their teen for assuming these new responsibilities and the pressures that may accompany them.

Let’s begin with a brief look at some essential things your teens need from you:

  • They need information about the choices, responsibilities and consequences that go along with the new opportunities and pressures they will face.
  • They need to be prepared, not scared, to handle the pressures of adolescence.
  • They need to feel that they can rely on you for understanding, support, information and guidance (even if it means setting firm limits).
  • They need you to show them positive ways to handle conflicts, disappointments, risks and pressures from others, including you.
  • They need to feel connected not only to friends but to school, family and community. They also need to feel appreciated.
  • They need to be seen as people (rather than as potential problems) and treated fairly.
  • They need guidance in problem-solving and decision-making so they can think for themselves and be involved in their own solutions.

Thus chances are what works with your child now won’t work as well in a year or two. Teens tend to look less to their parents and more to their peers for role models. But continue to provide guidance, encouragement, and appropriate discipline while allowing your teen to earn more independence. And seize every available moment to make a connection!

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