Teenage is the time when children mature and begin to establish their own identity. Adolescents have a lot to cope up with. Their changing bodies, the surge of hormones, and growth spurts or lack of them can all leave them feeling very confused. Parents need to stand by them and be supportive during this tumultuous time. Sometimes your teen might need more than the latest gadgets or the trendiest clothes. Here is a checklist of what they truly need from their parents.
Time and attention
Although teenagers like to spend most of their time out of a home and with their friends, they still like to be with their family. Make it a ritual for the entire family to eat dinner together, discussing the events of the day. You could also keep Sunday mornings aside for the family time, where you could go out for a brunch, on a picnic, or even watch a movie. Make the best of this time together and let your teens know that they are valued and appreciated.
It is important to give your teens responsibility so that they feel important. This also helps them make the transition from being dependent on starting taking charge for their own lives. Youngsters tend to rise to the situation when responsibility is conferred on them.
Giving your teen space does not mean ignoring her, but rather respecting her need for privacy. Maintaining an open, communicative relationship builds a foundation for mutual trust. The child must feel comfortable enough to express their thoughts and emotions. This bonding is only possible when parents spend quality time with their little ones. Treat them as you would treat an adult, and seek their opinions about family decisions as well. Make them feel that their inputs and contributions are appreciated.
Teenagers need your helpful attention rather than your overprotective attention. Dr. Spock says that it is more effective to let your child, especially a teen, know that you are concerned about something before you just start criticizing and laying down rules. For example, if you don’t approve of your daughter’s new friend, you could probably say “You don’t seem to be yourself ever since you met this friend” instead of “I forbid you to see this friend again.”
Freedom to choose
Allow your children independence and the freedom to make their own choices. From picking their friends to choosing what they want to study or even deciding their career path. Be their sounding board and guide but do not impose your ideas. If they slip up and make decisions that they are not proud of, they should feel comfortable to turn to you for support. Avoid being sarcastic or disapproving when they confide in you.
Sometimes it’s hard to step back and let your children grow and blossom into stable adults. Being a wise parent to an adolescent is indeed a difficult job. Remember that you are the adult in the relationship and stand by them when they need you.