After more than 25 years of working with teens and their parents – plus having a couple of my own, I’ve learnt a fair bit about adolescents and their behaviours. Here’s 10 things I can share with you on parenting teens which might help…
- Even when you wish you’d done or said something differently, don’t beat yourself up about it. It does not mean you’ve failed at parenting your teen.
- Your teenager still wants your love, guidance and reassurance. Yes, even when they’re trying hard to push you away.
- Grunts, eye rolls and crossed arms will pass. All a normal stage of teen development so try not to take these behaviours personally.
- Sleep is a major teen hobby. A teen doesn’t just bounce out of bed, ready for the day like toddlers do. Their sleep patterns will change. Again, it’s normal.
- Your teen’s decision making skills are not very good at all and they usually don’t do dumb things on purpose. Good news is that by age 21 girls should have better sense and by mid 20s most boys’ brain development has caught up.
- Your buttons will be pushed. Expect it. It’s natural for a teen to test boundaries and see just what they can and cannot get away with. Calm is good.
- On top of your teen’s priority list you could most likely find friendships, social plans, technology, privacy and more of the same. They will not look at chores, punctuality and family time with the same importance as you.
- Be prepared for the emotional roller coaster ride and just go with it. Pick battles wisely and focus on what really matters. In the scheme of things, a wet towel on the bathroom floor may not be such a big deal after all.
- Consistency is king. Decide upon your expectations, communicate them clearly and then stick by them. Avoid curveballs if and when you can.
- Look after yourself! Parental self-care is essential when there’s a teen in the house. Laughter, chocolate and wine are proven to work well. Or so I’m told!
Shari Brewer is a high school teacher, mum of three and blogger at Teenage Survival Coach.