Parenting is never an easy task and parenting an adolescent is the hardest. It is not uncommon for parents of teenagers to feel overwhelmed by the task. How do you parent someone who is undergoing the most difficult period of their lives? Are you going to try to control your teenager? Or are you going to let your adolescent child run wild?
Below are some tips on how to cope with and parent an adolescent:
- Remind yourself constantly that your child is a young adult. Parents tend to forget that their teenage child is a young adult capable of thinking and making decisions on his or her own. Thus, parents still try to exert control over the their teenager's life, including his choices in music, friends, and hobbies. This is a big no-no. You can try to influence your teenage child, but never control him or her. It will only add pressure to your teenage child's already pressured life.
- Maintain open lines of communication. When your child reaches adolescence, you will notice that he or she is talking to you a lot less and a lot more with his or her friends. Gone are the days when your child will hound you to answer questions and demand your attention. Still, it is important to let your child know that he or she can communicate with you. One way of doing that is by encouraging your teenager to share the happenings in his or her life at the dinner table or during mealtime.
- Keep in mind that communication is a two-way process. You cannot talk at the same time. When your teenage child opens up to you, listen first before you dole out parental opinion or advice. Try to read between the lines as your teenage child may not be as forthcoming with details of his or her life.
- Learn to compromise. More often than not, parents try to lay down ground rules for their teenage child. You were once a teenager yourself; you know how rules make a teenager feel rebellious. It will be better to have a serious sit-down talk with your teenager, and together you can negotiate rules that he or she can adhere to. Consequently, it should be clear to both you and your teenager that failing to follow the rules has consequences.
- Teach your child to be responsible. Since your teenager wants to be treated as a young adult, then give him or her young adult responsibilities. For example, he or she has to baby-sit whenever you are out of the house. Giving your teenager responsibilities lets them know that you trust him or her to successfully carry out those responsibilities.
Keep in mind that there is no clear-cut pattern for parenting and that each child is unique. Apply these tips as you see fit, and devise your own effective ways to parent.