Your son is no longer a small child. They are teenagers or teenagers, and it's time to modify their parenting skills to keep up with them.
Yes, they are probably in a better mood than when they were young. And you have new things to think about, like curfews, appointments, new drivers and friends that make you get noticed.
There is no doubt about it: your teenager or teenager will test your limits and your patience. But they are still your son. And, although they will not admit it, they still need you!
The key is to know which efforts worthwhile and which ones are counterproductive.
1. Waiting for the worst
Teenagers have a bad reputation, says Richard Lerner, PhD, director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. Many parents come to raise teenagers as a hard experience, believing that they can only watch helplessly while their adorable children become unpredictable monsters.
But that puts you and your teenager together for several unhappy and unsatisfying years.
"The message we give to teens is that they are only" good "if they are not doing" bad "things, like getting high, walking around with the wrong people or having sex," says Lerner.
2. Read too many books for parents
Instead of relying on their instincts, many parents turn to outside experts for advice on how to raise teens. "Parents can tie themselves in knots by trying to follow the advice they read in books," says Robert Evans, EdD, author of Family Matters: How schools can deal with the crisis in parenting.
It's not that parent books are bad.
"Books become a problem when parents use them to replace their own innate abilities," says Evans. "If the recommendations and their personal style do not fit, parents end up more anxious and less confident with their own children."
3. Sweating the little things
Maybe you do not like the haircut or the choice of your daughter's clothes. Or maybe she did not get the role in the work that you know she deserves.
But before entering, look at the big picture.
If you do not put your child at risk, give him some leeway to make age-appropriate decisions and learn the consequences of his decisions.
"Many parents do not want to grow up to involve pain, disappointment or failure," says Evans. Protecting your child from the realities of life takes away valuable learning opportunities before they go out on their own.
4. Ignore big things
If you suspect that your child is using alcohol or drugs, do not look the other way. Even if it's "just" alcohol or marijuana, or even if it reminds you of your own youth, you must act now, before it becomes a bigger problem.
"The years when children are between the ages of 13 and 18 are an essential time for parents to stay involved," Amelia M. Arria, PhD, tells WebMD. She is the director of the Center for Health and Development of Young Adults at the University of Maryland. Parents might consider teens drinking a rite of passage because they drank when they were that age. "But the bets are higher now," says Arria.
5. Too much, or too little, discipline.
Some parents, feeling a loss of control over the behavior of their teenagers, take energetic action every time their son gets out of line. Others avoid all conflict for fear that their teenagers will alienate them.
You do not have to do any of those things. It is about finding a balance between obedience and freedom.
If you put too much emphasis on obedience, you may be able to make your teen or teenager fall online, but at what price? Teens raised in rigid environments lose the opportunity to develop problem-solving or leadership skills because you are making decisions for them.
However, very little discipline does not help either. Teens and preteens need clear structures and rules to live as they begin to explore the outside world.
As parents, it is up to you to establish the fundamental values of your family and communicate them through your words and actions. That is being an authoritative parent, an approach that "helps children develop the skills they need to govern themselves appropriately," says Lerner.
Remember, your influence is deeper than you can think. Most teens say they want to spend more time with their parents. Continue to spend time with your child during the teenage and adolescent years. Even when it is not shown, you provide the solid ground for which you know you can always go home.
By: Preeti Narula
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