Teenagers are quite a handful all over the world. Many parents almost automatically start freaking out when their children turn 12 because all they can think of is ‘here comes the crazy’. It doesn’t have to be like that though. For that you will need to be careful about how you handle this part of the parenting journey. Your teenager’s life depends on it.
- Expecting the worst
Parents of teenagers sit waiting for something bad to happen. They wonder whether they will receive a call about their child’s drug habits, stealing, they anticipate fights over boyfriends, girlfriends and sex; they wait for alcohol to turn up in their homes and all kinds of negativity.
Don’t you think that is self-defeating considering you want your turn out okay? You call it preparing for any eventuality but if it does come to happen, would you consider that you contributed by constantly expecting for it? A study at Wake Forest University found that cases of ‘bad behaviour’ were mostly found in teenagers whose parents already expected them to do it.
The law of attraction states that you attract what you think about the most. This means that everything that happens to you is a reflection of what is going through your mind. Think about that and choose your thoughts wisely.
- Reading too much
It is very understandable that you want to pick up a parenting book so as to equip yourself for this ride. It is however not wise to take everything you read even if it seems inappropriate for your specific situation.
Remember when your child was little your decisions were mainly based on your gut feeling. That nagging voice deep within your belly that would get you doing things contrary to what people expected and standing up for your decision. You need that super power for this stage too so put the book down for a bit and listen to your gut.
- Nitpicking the small stuff
Almost every parent wants a perfect child who doesn’t cause them headaches, sleepless nights or pain. Disappointment and failure are part of life for everyone. Teenagers are transitioning into adulthood and will meet such situations in life. They are bound to make mistakes but your duty is to correct with love and sometimes just let it pass.
Weigh the situation accordingly because the last thing you want is to argue about waking up on time or a haircut you don’t approve of. Pick your battles.
- Ignoring big stuff
Some parents look at cigarettes and alcohol as a rite of passage for teenagers. They think because they did it too then it is okay or acceptable if their children do it too. The problem is you never know how far they will go with it. What if they turn to hard drugs next? Don’t assume they will stop just like you did.
If you notice anything different in your child’s behaviour and if any medicines are missing in your cabinet, fish around. You would rather deal with it earlier than let it grow into something big.
- Extreme or nonexistent discipline
Some parents don’t like the feeling of loss of control over their teens so they turn the house into a boot camp whenever the kids rebel. Other parents are afraid of losing their teenagers so they go soft on them. None of these approaches works for teens because as much as they need to be disciplined and obedient they also need to learn to set boundaries for themselves. They also need a form of structure and order at home because it gives them a feeling of security.
You need to develop a balance by being authoritative while allowing your teens to learn how to govern themselves. That prepares them much better for the grownup world.