Bam! The door upstairs slammed so loudly, the house shook. I painfully bit my lip ready to explode. My 13-year-old son had already passed that point, his emotions boiling. I had missed the opportunity to redirect the conversation to a safer, calmer ground, instead, being too negative and inflexible. Trying to find the lost gravity, I turned on some tranquil music by Bach. This was going to be a long road, but I was determined to make it to the end as a team.
The changes seemed to happen overnight. Maybe it was the middle school’s influence, or maybe I failed to recognize the subtle signs of his growing up? Whatever it was, I had to accept a new person my son has become. Defiant and more outspoken, he was willing to argue like there was no tomorrow.
Adolescence is not an easy time for both: parents and children. Though challenging, this is the most critical period where your teen needs your advice and guidance. Here are some tips that help me keep things in perspective and not ‘to fall over the cliff.
Talk, talk, talk
The more you are involved, the more your teen will be willing to share. Ask questions about his school, friends. Show your genuine interest in his life: listen when he talks.
Love gives security
I tell my son how much I love him when he goes to bed and the first thing in the morning. It starts and finishes the day on the right note with a smile on his face.
When things get heated, humor often takes away the edge and helps stay calm in a stressful situation. If you have trouble making jokes, read something funny. I like to imitate voices, which makes us both roll around with laughter.
Your teen needs your understanding. Remember: screaming doesn’t work and makes you feel bad afterwards. You can try walking away or changing the subject. Often times, I end up making crepes: his favorite.
Set rules and structure
I like to print out a weekly schedule, which outlines the activities and what he is expected to do around the house. The reward, like computer, comes only if all the work gets done.
Be positive, disciplined, and avoid pressuring your teen. He will more likely follow your example. And don’t forget: it’s a marathon, not a sprint!