If you asked anyone who has raised kids which age is the most difficult parenting stage, most will undoubtedly say the teenage years. Raising teenagers is so difficult because they are strong-willed and always insistent on knowing everything.
As parents it’s difficult to know when we should give them space to learn on their own and when we should try and protect them from the world around them. Here are six tips that will help you survive the teenage years.
1. Let Them Mess Up
We can’t protect our kids from everything. The best we can do is to be confident in the lessons we’ve instilled in them all their life and then trust them to make good decisions.
When kids make mistakes, which they will do quite frequently, take the time to talk about that mistake and discuss what could’ve been done differently. If you react to your teen’s mistakes with a level head they will be more open to you about their life. Whereas, if you react by getting angry and start automatically throwing around punishments, the next time your teen gets in trouble, they’ll do their best to keep it from you.
2. Forgive Them
Everyone has low points in their lives, times where we wish we would’ve acted differently and been better. When your teenager has such low points, it is imperative that you forgive them and move on. Nobody wants to be defined by their weakest moments so don’t do it to your own child.
3. Don’t Expect Too Much
Just like you shouldn’t define your teen by their lowest point, you also shouldn’t expect too much from them based on their highest achievement. It is wonderful to celebrate your child’s successes, but be sure that they know and understand that your love isn’t conditional. Focusing too much on their accomplishments can put a lot of pressure on your child and may lead to a fear of failure.
4. Lead By Example
Your child learns everything from you, how you handle stress, how you speak and act towards others, and how you express yourself. Because your child is emulating you, it is imperative that you be the kind of person that you want your child to become. Teach them how to resolve conflicts maturely by doing so yourself. Through your example, your kids can learn to be kind and respectful to others.
5. Let Them Resolve Their Own Problems
When our kids are mistreated, our instincts typically tell us to immediately step in and fix their problem for them. While this is acceptable when they are young, the teenage mentality works much differently, especially when it comes to helping them grow to defend themselves. Sometimes the best you can do is to be there as a guide for them, but let them try and solve issues by themselves. Your teen’s confidence will be boosted when problems are resolved on their own.
6. Don’t Hide Your Flaws
If you hide all of your imperfections from your child, they may spend their life thinking, “There is no way I can live up to that.” So be yourself and allow your teen to see your mistakes so they can watch you overcome them. This will help them learn from your experiences and grow from the challenges you’ve already had to face.
The goal of every parent is to raise their kids to be honest, self-reliant, and hard-working adults. While at times it might be tempting to shield them from the challenges the world mysteriously throws at them, these challenges could also help instill some of the most important values they could ever have.