Anyone parenting a teen knows just how challenging this all-important job can be. Here are tips that can make that job easiser.
Establish open communication with your teen. Let them know that you are always available to listen to and address their concerns. Show a genuine interest in their lives, i.e., their joys, sorrows, friends and achievements. Allow them the opportunity to ask questions or seek guidance without fear of a negative response or outcome. Remember to provide positive praise.
Establish “periods of time” in which you, as parent, are available to engage with your teen doing something of interest to them. This could be attending a sports event, museum, movie, traveling, assisting with homework, college applications etc.
Discuss current events with your teen, engaging them in conversation to provide an opportunity for them to share their feelings and thoughts in an appropriate manner and to discuss with them socially acceptable and responsible behaviors. This also provides an opportunity to discuss problems and solutions as a family unit in a safe, comfortable and nonjudgmental setting.
Establish clear boundaries and limits with your teen. Share with them what is acceptable vs. unacceptable behaviors. In addition, be clear regarding any reward/consequence system. Be consistent and fair in establishing and enforcing the boundaries and limits.
Model responsible behaviors. Report to work on time, adhere to legal and financial obligations in a timely manner, engage others fairly and equitably, and “own” any mistakes and successes. Don’t be afraid to apologize to your teen if applicable.