The teenage years are not that easy on the teenager, and they need your help to get through the pressures and changes they are going through. Here are 10 keys we hope helps you and your teen get through those years with minimal hassles.
1. Bond: Create a good bond between you and your teen. This is done by talking and listening to them, and engaging them in activities they will enjoy even way before the pre-teen years. Your child should feel close enough to you to be able to tell you anything at anytime.
2. Be fair: Sometimes, a teenager needs to know that mum and dad won’t crucify her for her mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should not discipline your teen when she errs but the punishment should be proportionate to the offence committed. For instance, do not ground your daughter because she forgot to make her bed.
3. Be a good example: As a parent, do you practice what you preach or indulge in bad habits? Does your child see you struggle to live a lifestyle you cannot afford just to be like your friends? Teenagers are young adults and see more than we realize. If your son realizes you always do the exact opposite of everything you ask him to do, he will also pay lip service to them. Let your teen learn from your worthy example.
4. Be creative: Try recreating different scenes with your teen to find out how she will react when faced with potential hiccups. For instance, you could create a bullying scene and show your teen how she should respond. Using a real example will stick in your child’s brain and hopefully save her when a real situation arises.
5. Be fun: Show your child they can have fun without doing anything stupid or reckless. This is really important as most ‘naughty’ things teens get up to are considered ‘fun.’ One of the most common phrases used as bait to try all sorts of things from drugs, to getting drunk or having early sex is ‘try it, it’s fun.’
So, show and tell them that no one needs to get naked or inhale anything to have fun. Make sure your house is not boreville too by introducing game nights with their friends under your supervision.
6. Be inquisitive: Yep, snoop around! Ask questions and when you don’t get answers, dig around. Let your teen know that his parents can check on him at any time. Do this in a way your teen will not feel their privacy is being invaded. Digging for answers is especially important when your teen suddenly becomes withdrawn or has a drastic change in character.
7. Be careful who you hire: For many of us working parents, the nanny may notice things before you do. A nanny should be loyal enough to let you know when and if any strange behaviour is being displayed by your teen. Try not to hire people who just see it as a job and don’t care about your children.
8. Know your children’s friends: It’s important to know the kind of friends that your teen keeps so you know which friendships to discourage. Make sure your children’s friends are always welcome in your home while giving them their space. This way, you will be able to study their behaviour from a short distance.
9. Talk with your child: One day my 9-year-old son asked if I had ever been naughty. I could have lied and said I was a saintly child but instead, I saw it as an opportunity to teach my child. I told him that I was naughty sometimes but that it was never worth it. While you need not divulge all your teenage trespasses to your child, tell them a few stories and the consequences they resulted to.
10. Keep Calm: Even when you find out your teen has done something wrong, don’t bring the roof down; be calm. A wrong reaction may cause more harm. You could end up driving the erring teen into the arms of the wrong people. So, rather than give an emotion filled reaction, calmly think of the best way to deal with the issue.