Teenagers are at a critical stage in their lives, which is the transition from being a child to maturing into an adult. During this period of their lives they are going through vast hormonal changes and are experiencing pressure from their peers, the media as well as other external influences. At this significant stage in their lives they need their parents to become their friends rather than their parents or the high authority controlling their lifestyles. They need to feel help and support throughout this stage in their lives. You can get some great tips on communicating with your teen from the popular and effective Teenage Parenting 101.
It's important to realize that during this stage in their lives, teens are continuously seeking independence from their parents through all aspects in their lives. They are beginning to develop sexual desires and question the existence of god and spirituality in their lives. They desire to be treated as adults, and they are in constant search for their identities, finding the groups in which they belong and, more importantly, finding themselves.
- Give them love, forgiveness and constant support when they experience failure. Teenagers need to be assured that when they make mistakes, they are going to realize it and prevent it from happening again in the future. It is your duty as their parents and friends to always love them no matter what, and to reassure them that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as they learn from those mistakes. In dealing with teenagers during this critical period you need to let them know they will always be loved and you will always be there to support and help their wounds to heal.
- Listen to their concerns and nurture them. A great parenting style is when you keep the communications flowing between you and your teen. Don’t let yourself become isolated from them. Always be there for them with a shoulder to cry on and an ear ready to listen. Give them the opportunity to speak without giving them long lectures which make them feel inadequate and incompetent. After all we all make mistakes; teenagers need to be assured that you are not treating them like a child and trying to control them. Speak to them the same way a friend would talk to them; make them feel as though they are having a conversation with a friend rather than their parents.
- Acknowledge the boundaries you set for them. Teenagers on a regular basis are constantly re-evaluating the boundaries you set for them, whether they are too strict, too lenient, or overprotective. You must never be overprotective of them because you have to let them fall down and fail so they’ll learn. You must never let your fears get in the way of protecting them. It is your fears which create the overprotective boundaries you put in place for them and in order to combat this you need to be prepared to watch them fail at least once in their lives.
- Allow them to make decisions for themselves. In parenting teens, try to accept as many of their requests as possible and give them room to make their own decisions. Allow them to choose their own tastes in clothes, hobbies and activities because these give them a sense of identity and create a stronger bond between both of you as parents and as teenagers. If they feel constant control by you over their lives, that will trigger the mighty force of rebellion embedded in them. Refuse to make their decisions for them.
- Praise their good qualities and decisions. Always let them know how you feel about the wise and mature decision they make; this allows communication of their independence to grow and they will feel more adequate. Tell them you love them and that you are proud of them. This makes them feel satisfaction and guides them toward the right path.
- Do not compare them to others. Don’t verbally compare your teenagers to their siblings or other people’s children; this infuriates teenagers and creates more anger and rebellion with in them. This also creates sibling rivalry and jealousy. Always acknowledge their uniqueness and good qualities to ensure this doesn’t occur.
- Respect them. Always knock before entering a teenager's room. Speak to them respectfully and don’t embarrass them in front of others.
Of course even through nurturing their souls, they will always have the tendency of rebellion embedded in them. Always be prepared for the worst and try to control your anger towards their wrong-doings. Remember to always be there for them as a friend or companion to help them out.