Teenagers and a Sense of Belonging
Raising a Teenager
Raising a teenager is one of the most challenging jobs you are going to face. It is also one of the most important times in their lives. It is so imperative that you start recognizing they are not only teenagers they are pre-adults and handled with the right amount of acknowledgement and respect they will rebel. This is when more dangerous and defiant behaviors develop.
It is important to realize that unlike other stages of your child’s life you are laying the foundation for their adulthood. They must learn that some decisions making skills and begin to make some adult choices. While still under the protection of parents.
Accountable for Decisions
It is important that they are accountable for their decisions and they need to understand there are consequences to every decisions they are making good and bad.
Rules need to be concise
Parents need to make rules concise with clear consequences. By the age of 20 the brain is fully develop so before that their brains still have growing to do. They live in the moment where adults can look ahead to weigh their actions against the effect of what choices they make. My 17-year-old daughter is a prime example of this. She and her friends made for the evening and within 15 minutes of leaving her plans can change 3 to 4 times. All it takes is another friend having a “better idea.”
When your children are two and three years old, you learn to pick your battles. Not all battles are worth the fight and tantrums are not worth it. The same thing is true when dealing with a teenager. Be sure it is worth the fight and as far as tantrums, you have not seen anything until you stop your teenager from doing something “all the other kids” are doing.
Do not overreact to everything. They need your strong presents that they know they can count on. They need to know they can depend on you to be there for them even when they think they do not need you. They need to know that no matter what you have their back. They are going to make many mistakes but try to remember you were their age once and you made mistakes. We cannot stop them from making mistakes and there are times they need to make them in order to learn. Good choices make for positive consequences; bad choices make for negative consequences.
Be a good example by following the law to every extent possible. If you break the law even what you view as “just stretching it or saying the law is stupid,” you are showing your lack of respect toward authority. A perfect example would be “the law says teenagers with provisional license cannot drive after 8PM. You think it is a stupid law and you let your child drive home from a game that ended at 8:30PM.” You just taught them that if the law seems of no benefit its okay for them to go against it even if it is a little bit. Do not send that kind of message to your children.
There are deal breakers in your teenager’s life. Natural consequences for underage drinking and breaking the law is not appropriate. These things are just not acceptable and can be dangerous. You need to put a stop to these types of behaviors as soon as you become aware of these things emerging.