The dynamics in a parent-child relationship change dramatically during the teenage years. Parents must learn how to loosen the reigns providing their teens with the independence they need to evolve as human beings. Most parents would agree this is a difficult transition to make. Too much freedom leaves your impressionable and naive teenager vulnerable to the many dangers in the world. Yet, if parents are too strict, it forces teenagers to rebel.
As every parent’s hope is that their teens remain on the straight and narrow, it is essential that you learn how to reduce the likelihood of your teenager rebelling. Continue reading for advice on how to master this.
Show Your Teens They Can Confide in You
Whether it’s about how their day was in school, a person they’re interested in dating, or a disagreement with a friend, your teenager is not going to open up to you if they do not feel safe. It is common for parents to start lecturing, judging, pushing their opinions, or reprimanding their teenagers when they try to talk about things going on in their lives. This makes your teen feel uncomfortable and unsafe to be able to express themselves whether things are good or bad.
Show your teenager that they have mom and dad to confide in by being an effective listener. It’s important that your child knows they can come to you with anything, and when they do, just listen. If they ask for your input, this is your time to show empathy and compassion and then explain what you might do in the situation and why. Then, express that you trust them to do the right thing and let them know that you are there if they need you.
Educate Your Teens
Many parents make the mistake of allowing teachers and school curriculum to be the only source of education when it comes to life issues like sex, drugs, or alcohol. Though it’s a great start, these topics should be discussed in further detail at home. When your teens are fully aware of the consequences of engaging in dangerous activities, they are able to make more informed decisions about right and wrong.
You don’t have to call a house meeting, but during times when you’re with your teens, just casually bring up subject matters. For example, while eating lunch at the mall, you can ask your teen if any of their friends are doing drugs and alcohol. This then opens the doors to a conversation about the dangers of abusing substances. You can also educate them on things like the symptoms of a drug overdose, what to do if they see someone using drugs or alcohol, and what the long-term impact of abusing these substances can have on their lives.
Give Freedom and Independence (Within Reason)
Your teens are not babies anymore. Now that they’re older, they want the freedom to be able to explore. Though it may be hard to do, if you want to avoid teenage rebellion, it is imperative that you show your teens you trust them. That being said, you don’t want to give too much freedom as their curiosities could get them in trouble.
Start with small things like letting them walk home from school or go to the pizza shop after school with friends. As they show they can be responsible for those things, then you allow them to do more like going to the mall, the movies, or a supervised sleepover at a friend’s house. Be sure to set ground rules when they’re out like checking in periodically and being home within a reasonable hour.
Keep an Open Mind
Teens today struggle with so much more than parents did back in the day. Not only do they struggle to fit in with their peers, but they also struggle with their sexual identities and even their futures. As they go through these changes trying to figure out what feels right to them, it is important that they know they have your support. Whether they sign up for basketball and then suddenly decide they want to go into photography or they become curious about same-sex relationships, if you judge them, put them down, or make them feel bad for their choices, they will rebel.
It is important to keep an open mind. All you want is for your teen to be a successful adult. What they decide to be when they grow up or who they chose to love won’t have a negative impact on that. So, do your best just to show your support no matter what choices they make.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to make parenting teens sunshine and roses, but with effective parenting tips like those discussed above, you can make it a lot easier. When you educate your teen, show them they can confide in you, that you trust them, and that your support is unwavering, you create an environment in which there really isn’t a need to rebel.