The mere thought of parenting a teenager today is such a daunting task that some people may be thinking twice about having children at all. That’s a slight exaggeration, but that’s what parents see on TV and media. Teenagers have somehow been typecasted as angst-ridden, emotionally troubled kids. Parenting teens is often filled with confusion and stress. Very few parents will honestly say that there was no struggle while raising their teenager. However, there are tricks and chicaneries to make this stage of life a wonderful adventure despite some pitfalls along the way.
The first thing a parent needs to understand is that teen parenting is entirely different from raising a child. The child need to learn the basics, but a teen needs to learn by breaking out of the ‘parental cocoon’ and venture into the realm which we call life. Teens are discovering their values in life, who they want to be as a person. They can do this if you loosen your rein so they can gauge how much they know and compare it to all they see and hear as they venture out more and more on their own.
The question now is how much freedom are you willing to give them. The answer lies on how you as their parents raised them as a child. If you raised them in an atmosphere of love and have equipped them with the right set of values, then there is nothing to worry about. You can sit back and relax knowing that your teen will be able to face and hurdle the perils that would come their way. Childhood is where you lay a strong foundation that won’t be shaken later in life.
Another important key to parenting a teenager is recognizing the fact that certain conflicts are inevitable. Learn to handle them wisely and don’t let them escalate into something that can spiral out of control. There are a number of things that parents can do that will give teenagers the freedom they need while preserving the boundaries and values that will keep them protected.
The parents need to know that they are the single, most significant influence in their teen’s life. It is therefore imperative that parents spend as much time as possible with their teen. This may post a problem because of the rigors of the parents’ jobs, and their teen may likewise be preoccupied with social activities that typically characterize this stage in their lives. Families may spend little time together. So parents should make it a point to spend quality time with their teenager listening to what they have to say. Keep it cool and play it safe, don’t get stupefied and react with disapproval at the things they say. The wise thing to do is to ask them how they feel and why. Parents need to guide teenagers as they evaluate what consequences may result from the choices they make.
There is actually no reason for parents to dread this stage in their teen’s life. Instead of breaking a cold sweat and dreading this time in their life, bear in mind that your reponsibility as their parent is to prepare them for a life on their own. There is no greater reward and satisaction than knowing that you have done a good job in rearing your teenager and that he or she has grown up to be a fine young man / lady!