The teen years can be challenging - especially if you have more than one kid going through them at once. The good news is that there are positive habits that you can develop as a parent to help make it easier on everyone involved! Here are some strategies can help you get through my daughter's teenage years.
Accept that your child is a teenager.
We all know that adolescence is a time of change, and it can be tough to navigate. Your teen will be going through many changes, including:
New emotions and feelings
A need to test limits and boundaries
The desire to find their own identity apart from you--and parents, in general
If you find yourself feeling frustrated because your teenager is testing limits or making decisions against your wishes, understand that this is normal in adolescence. Teens need to learn how to make their own decisions while still knowing they have the support of their parents. This can seem like an overwhelming challenge for both teens and parents! But if we are able to work together as a team (rather than against each other), we can help our teens feel empowered rather than fearful during this important time in their lives.
Discipline with respect.
Discipline with respect. When your child does something wrong, keep in mind that he or she is still a child. Your teen may be old enough to make decisions, but he or she is still young enough to need guidance and intervention from an adult. When you discipline your teenager, remember to treat them as the kid they are.
Discipline with love. If you want your teen to feel loved while they're being disciplined, show him or her how much you care by taking time out of your day to listen closely when they talk about their life (and theirs only). This will help build trust between both of you which then leads into more positive outcomes for everyone involved!
Discipline with fairness: No matter how angry we get sometimes when our kids act out inappropriately, it's important not let those emotions interfere with our ability see things clearly enough so that we can respond appropriately without doing something rashly out of frustration instead if what should happen instead Â--which would never lead anywhere good!
You will want to be consistent with your rules and expectations, with your discipline, and with your rewards and consequences. When it comes to consistency:
Be consistent in what you do. For example, if you tell your teenager he cannot drive the car until he has a job, then don't let him drive during the summer when he is unemployed.
Be consistent in how you respond when your teenager misbehaves by not giving him more leniency just because he's working hard at school or sports. If his grades start slipping or if he loses interest in sports, still enforce those rules consistently-he may need more help than ever!
Be a role model for your teenager.
Being a role model for your teen is much more than being a good example. You need to set the bar high for them and give them opportunities to show their maturity. If they see you saying no when they ask you for something, they will learn that it's okay to say no too. If they see you working hard at work or school, they will realize that they need to do the same if they want to be successful in life. Your children will also benefit from seeing how much love there is between you and your spouse - this can help them make healthy relationships with their peers as well as adults later on in life!
Listen to them.
Listening is one of the most important skills you can teach your teenager. It's also one of the most difficult. Most parents don't realize how often they don't listen, or how their lack of listening affects their teenagers. Here are some ways to become a better listener:
Don't interrupt your kids when they're talking-even if you want to interrupt them!
Don't judge what they're saying or try to solve their problems for them (this will just make them feel worse).
Don't give advice unless asked for it!
Set boundaries and stick with them.
Be consistent. Give your teen consequences for breaking the rules and make sure they are fair, appropriate, and age-appropriate.
Ask for input from your teens and act on it when possible.
Asking for input from your teens and acting on it when possible is a great way to show them respect, but don't forget that they are still learning. While their ideas may have some merit, it's important to remember that they are still growing. Your teen may be in his or her own headspace and having trouble seeing the big picture!
Remember that you're in the same boat they are.
As a parent, it can be easy to forget this fact. Many of us were raised by our parents and grandparents who had their own struggles as teens, or even before that. We see our teens going through the same things we went through, and we think "Well, I did fine." And sometimes we did! But other times? Not so much-and there's no shame in admitting that you've made mistakes along the way.
Remembering where you came from will help keep your head on straight when it comes time for your teen to make decisions about what they want out of life and how they want to get there-and more importantly: how those decisions affect others around them (like their friends).
Being a positive parent takes patience, but the dividends are great!
Becoming a positive parent means growing in patience. Patience is like a muscle, and it's not easy to grow your patience muscles. But just like any muscle, the more you exercise them, the stronger they get.
Patience is a virtue, trait and character quality that we should all strive to develop as Christians. It's an attitude of trust in God even when things feel out of control or confusing; it's a choice made daily by walking with Jesus; and it's one of the gifts bestowed on us by His Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
Patience is also something we need to work on if we want our children to grow up into godly adults who will bless their families with their godly influence someday. They will only be able to do this if they learn how to be patient now-and there are many ways for us as parents to help our kids develop this skill!
Parenting teenagers is a difficult task. It's easy to get frustrated and angry, but if you stick with these positive Christian parenting strategies, you can be the kind of parent your teen needs-and wants-to have. Remember that your teenager is going through many changes, so try not to judge or criticize them too harshly. And always remember what it was like for YOU when you were their age: did anyone ever believe they would grow up one day?
Related Article: 10 Positive Christian Parenting Tips in Today's Digital World