From Training To Testing:
It is time they get ready for the testing grounds of their youth. It is time we step down as primary decision makers so they understand the consequences of their choices and decisions.
Parenting teens for maximum impact can be done in these three steps.
• Show them you respect yourself, your time and your capabilities.
• Set your expectations daily. Stand your ground.
• Meet them where they are.
Have Difficult Conversations:
Once every few days, ask them how their life is. Humanize yourself and share your own daily struggles, of course, as much is age appropriate for them. The problem is we want to shelter them from hard conversations and once they go to college, that’s when they start learning about how hard life really is. And that doesn’t have to be the case.
Share a little of their youthful idealism – The idea that they would conquer the world and nothing was impossible!
It’s our duty as caregivers to plant the seeds of love, connection and hope. And we must start with connecting with them first.
Talk to your teens about what they observe in school and outside in the world. Do they see inequality and disparities? How do they plan to help address those issues when they grow up? Talk and acknowledge things that you’ve learnt in the course of your own lifetime, that social justice issues exist and so do discrimination and stigma around discussing things openly.
Reinforce Positive Behavior:
I just cannot tell this enough to parents. When you see your children doing anything desirable, point it out. Doing so will encourage children to continue repeat such behavior. In turn, model good behavior around them, so they understand what a well lived life looks like.
Value your time, avoid distraction traps created by technology and set goals and follow through with them. Do a project together for the home or your community and keep yourself accountable for it. Ask them how you can be a better parent and be open to feedback of all kinds.
Give Your Precious Attention:
Parents are increasingly spending less and less time with their children these days. The idea that teens don’t need us as much is a big myth that must be busted. Of course, they don’t need our help like how they needed us during their younger years. But, its important to remember that they want someone to pay them attention and be willing to engage in meaningful discussions about some questions on life that they might have .
If they see us busy or stressed, they might be afraid of opening themselves up to us. When they are around you, try to be whole heartedly in their presence even if you’re sitting together in silence for a few minutes. By doing that, you’re showing them that you are available for them if they need you.
Plan an activity or ask their presence at a family gathering every week, so they understand the importance of connection. It also shows them that we care enough to be in their company. Play games with them and show that you’re willing to lose to them.
Set Limits And Maintain Boundaries:
Life is full of uncertainty. And our children look up to us for helping them navigate unpredictable change in their lives. They look at us as their safety blanket as they go through life’s ups and downs.
But, it’s important to also teach them how to help themselves when the going gets tough. After all, we are not going to be there for them forever.
And that is when a little discipline will go a long way. Their life is not going to be a bed of roses always and the earlier they find out that the better. Give them limits on their screentime and instead give them chores.
Believe me, even if they’re rebelling, they love the structure and consistency that routines offer. At the same time, be careful not to overschedule your teen. Free time allows the mind to wander and the brain needs time to de-stress each day.
Teach Compassion And Empathy:
Our children are watching us even if it feels like they don’t care. They learn how to help and be compassionate towards themselves and others by learning from us. It is important to check-in with our children frequently to understand how they feel.
Talking about values, feelings and emotions helps them develop the self-awareness they need to understand their own strengths and weaknesses.
When we show our vulnerable side and ask for their feedback or say things like, “I was wrong,” it helps our children to realize that we all make mistakes. Being vulnerable helps teach your children key social and emotional skills like how to manage and address their emotions.
Build Trust And Connection With Teens:
Find out more HERE.
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About The Article Author:
I see myself as an advocate for bringing social, emotional and character development to families, schools and communities. I never want to let this idea out of my sight – Our children are not just GPAs. I’m a Writer and a Certified Master Coach in NLP and CBT. Until 2017, I was also a Big Data Scientist. In December of 2044, I hope to win the Nobel. Namasté.
Write to me or call me. Tell me what support from me looks like.
Program Director & Essential Life Skills Coach for Kids and Busy Parents
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