Teenagers are a unique social group whom society targets for merchandising, trends, and frustration. This age group has an adult following who adores their uniqueness and free spiritedness, barely tolerates them, or is terrified of them. When you have them living in your home, are you surviving those teenage years or thriving? Turn on the television, and there you see the parents of teenagers as aloof, dumb, awkward, detached from reality, or completely self-consumed. While there are undoubtedly periods of each of these characteristics in anyone, parenting teens can be a positive and successful experience.
Here are a few tips from a fellow soldier in the teenage trenches:
1. Be consistent. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it.
2. Listen to them. Be genuinely interested in their stories and their life.
3. Don’t be afraid when they have a mature, adult conversation with you, then suddenly change to childlike behavior. It’s normal.
4. Encourage them to reach scholastic, social, extracurricular, spiritual, and family goals. People live up to the expectations we have of them. Our children are not excluded.
5. Be patient. Remember how difficult this time is. It can be scary for them too.
6. Talk to them. They do listen.
7. Be the safe house where they can hang out with their friends to eat, play games and watch movies. Give them positive alternatives to “partying.”
8. Be honest and prepared to talk about the tough stuff. They need to hear the truth from somewhere, let it be from you.
9. Hug them and tell them you love them and are proud of them. If they don’t receive hugs and affirmations at home, they may seek them elsewhere.
10. Enjoy these years. These are the years that you have worked so hard for. It is where the rubber meets the road regarding the training you have provided for them.
Give yourself grace. You can do it!