Parenting a teenager is an emotional roller coaster! You can go from bursting with pride to wanting to pull everyone’s hair out within a matter of minutes. The best parenting tip I can give you is to set boundaries. This can be hard when it seems like your teenager changes daily. I am sharing three parenting tips that helped my family survive the teenager years.
Parenting tip one: Build a relationship with your teenager based on mutual trust.
You can’t set boundaries or enforce the consequences of crossing boundaries if your teenager doesn’t trust you or if you don’t trust them. Remember that your teenager is not five years old any longer. To build mutual trust you must talk to them. Be open and honest in your discussions. Get to know your teenager and let them get to know you. If you have a relationship built on trust your teenager will understand the boundaries you set, as well as, the consequences they face if they cross the boundaries.
Parenting tip two: Have expectations and boundaries for your teenager not rules.
Right now your teenager is developing into a young adult. Forcing a ton of rules on them will lead to rebellion every time. Everyone has said, at least once in their life, “Rules are made to be broken.” If you make a lot of new rules your teenager (who thinks they are an adult) will break them every one.
Explain to your teenager what you expect from them. Be clear and precise about the boundaries you set, as well as, the consequences for crossing them. Always clarify the reasons for your expectations and boundaries. No matter how tempting it is to say, “Because I’m your parent and I say so!” If your teenager understands why you feel that they need boundaries, they will be more acceptable to them. As a parent, the best way I know of to get your teenager to respect boundaries is to involve them in the process of creating the boundaries. Ask them, “What do you think? How would you react? What do you think the consequences should be?”
Parenting tip three: Learn to be flexible.
Sometimes when parenting a teenager we want to set boundaries and never give an inch when enforcing them. As parents we tend to go too far with this at times. If your teenager is 30 minutes late and has a legitimate reason, you shouldn’t punish them as if they went to a party and came home three hours late. Be understanding; remember that life throws curve-balls at you too.
No matter how much we would like to we can’t choose their style, friends or relationships. Trying to do so will make your teenager yearn to have what they want even more. Be flexible; discuss things with your teenager. They are changing almost daily. Don’t rule with an iron fist, this is going too far and may damage the relationship with your teenager.