Want to know how to survive (and even thrive) your teenager? Keep reading to learn how to raise teens and not go crazy.
Just like you had to teach them how to walk, how to share, and how to write their name, you have to teach teens how to be good teenagers. These lessons must be taught every day, month after month, year after year. You might be thinking “haven’t I been doing this their whole life already?” and the answer is yes. Unfortunately, while teenagers may look like adults, they are far from it. This is a major component in learning how to raise teens. They still need your guidance and involvement to learn how to be a good human (and one that you actually enjoy being around!).
I know what you’re thinking- this all sounds good in theory but how do you teach teenagers when they generally want nothing to do with you?
Your reaction to what your teenager does and says is crucial to building a trusting and mentoring relationship. If you catch your teenager in a lie, as hard as it may be, do not overreact! It will be tempting to yell or punish them harshly thinking you will rid them of this habit but think again. Teenagers lie. They just do. But when you overreact all they will learn is that they can’t tell you when they mess up. Instead, take a deep breath and listen to what your teen has to say without interrupting or yelling. This will go a long way in building a positive relationship with your teen so in the future, they will tell you the truth more often.
Remember what I said about teenage brains swimming in hormones? Well, those hormones cause teens to be super emotional creatures who often do not think before they react. Between the hormones and undeveloped prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for planning and thinking things through), supervision is a must. Teens scream for privacy but this should be given within reason. There should be some monitoring in place, especially on electronic devices and social media.
In addition to supervision, teenagers need chances to talk to another trusted adult other than their parents. There will be times when your teen just won’t want to talk to you about something (as much as it hurts, it’s just a fact) so having an adult you trust to talk to your teen is a lifesaver. It can be an aunt, grandparent, or even a trusted family friend.
This doesn’t mean every talk with your teen has to be about some big heavy topic. It just means having regular conversations with them about what’s going on in their life. It could be a movie they just saw, an article you read, or even something funny that happened during your day. When your teen can talk to you about everyday things, they will know they can come to you about heavier things.
This may seem counterproductive from the last tip, but hear me out. Talking to your teens about real things is vital to cultivating a good relationship with your teen. However, listening to what your teen has to say is just as important. Know when to stop talking and listen to what your teen has to say. If your teen doesn’t feel like you truly listen to what they have to say, they will stop coming to you.
I get it! Sometimes the things they do drive you nuts. Every time they leave a wet towel on the floor or keep adding to an already full trash can without even thinking about taking it out makes you want to pull your hair out. The trick (and hardest part) is to stay consistent with your actions. It may seem like it’s going in one ear and out the other, but keep reminding them to pick up that towel and the garbage out. Your perseverance will have its reward- I promise!