Most parents complain about the “terrible twos” when they have small children. But once their children hit the teenage years, they realize that the “terrible twos” were a much simpler time. In the teenage years, as your children approach adulthood, they become more aware of what they want (or what they think they want) as well as more independent.
Just think about your own teenage years. Did you ever want to be seen in public with your parents at the movies? Neither did I. This is the time of your own life where you may feel the coolest, but by your teenager’s standards, you are the least cool of all.
Still, that’s no reason to let your teen do as they please. You’re still the parent and you need to set limits and help steer your child in the right direction so they’ll grow into an adult you can be proud of. If everything you do seems to be met with great defiance, try these tactics to help tame your child of those “terrible teens.”
Make Your Expectations Clear
Every child needs limits, even teens. Of course, they’ll attempt to cross the line many times but it’s up to you as a parent to set the rules for the household and stick to them.
For example, if there’s no TV allowed until homework is completed, you’d better have clear consequences outlined for what will happen if a rule is broken. By making things very clear in a family meeting, your child will feel secure and will know exactly what is expected of them if they do not comply.
Keep Them Active
Bored teens aren’t just unhappy – they’re more likely to get into trouble with drugs and alcohol. With so many technological advances, our kids are forgetting just how to be kids. Don’t let them forget. Get them involved in sports, whether it’s a team sport or something like gymnastics. Take family bike rides together. Encourage activity and movement. Children who are more artsy should be encouraged to get exercise in other ways while also being encouraged to express that creativity.
Teach Responsibility, Accountability And Compassion
If your family is lucky, your children don’t need to work to save up for college. But that doesn’t mean that an afterschool job isn’t a good idea. You can help them to open a savings account and deposit what they earn in there. A job at the mall or even as a steady dog-walker or babysitter will teach responsibility and accountability to your teen which are skills he or she will need to be successful as an adult.
Additionally, you should also teach your child how to be grateful for the things they have by instilling compassion in them. Have them help you volunteer at church or during the holidays to see those that are less fortunate so that they will develop the spirit to help others on their own.
Keep An Open Line Of Communication
If you find yourself interrupting your child every time he or she tries to confide in you about something, stop. Take the time to fully listen and hear what your child says to you. By doing so without judging, shaming or interrupting, your child will feel completely comfortable coming to you when problems arise, which is something you should strive for.