Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. Teenagers are from some planet far, far away yet to be named! This could be why the teenage years are so trying.
Parenting is a tough job. It’s even more challenging during those teenage years. Beginning around age 13 or 14, teenagers become the smartest people on the planet. They know EVERYTHING and you, the parent, know absolutely nothing. They are at the center of the universe and nothing matters except their needs and wants. So, how do you raise a responsible, socially conscious, successful child despite the teenage years?
Trouble Won’t Last Always
First things first. Know that, like the terrible two’s, the tumultuous teens are a temporary phase. You will survive.
Set Boundaries and Stick to Your Guns
Contrary to their beliefs, teens do not have all the answers. They are still growing and learning and they need guidance and support from their parents. Rules and boundaries are even more critical at this phase as peer pressure and societal influences can easily take hold of your teen. A clear set of rules and expectations should be in place. You should also discuss with your child the consequences for violating those rules. Once established, don’t waver. You may be tempted to let an indiscretion go without a consequence. This sends the wrong message to your teen and gives them room to make more mistakes.
I know you are probably the LAST person your teen wants to talk to, but you have to keep the lines of communication open. Have regular conversations about your teen’s day. Know your teen’s friends and their parents. Be familiar with your teen’s activity on social media. Be nosey! Your teen may feel like you are the worst parent in the world for invading their privacy, but if you set expectations early on, your teen will understand that your actions are rooted in love.
Parenting can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have. It can also be one of the most trying. Sometimes the challenges you face may cause damage to the parent/child relationship or even your relationship with the other parent. In those instances, a mental health professional may be able to help by providing a platform for you to examine the root of your issues, develop a parenting plan and/or resolve conflicts. If you feel that you may benefit from the support of a professional, call us at 832-421-8714 or email to schedule an appointment. We can help.