Parenting a Teenager, A Survival Guide.
Anyone who tells you that parenting is easy is not being truthful.
Parenting a teenager is challenging, wonderful, and rewarding. However, it is definitely not easy.
The very real pitfalls and challenges of life must be navigated with them properly. Additionally, they need to be navigated in a way that does not rob them of agency.
Often, the lessons we set in youth are those that end up influencing them the most as they develop and age into their teenage and young adult years. This isn’t to say you are responsible for every single personality trait your child could ever exhibit. However, it does mean that we should influence in the best way possible. Often, growing with our children is an essential element of this.
But what are the main parenting lessons that grow into teenage consequences? It’s an interesting and necessary question.
Cleaning & Tidying
Living in a clean and tidy environment is important for hygiene, resilience and time management. But when parenting a teenager we can sometimes feel as if a bomb went off in their room. It is up to the parents to teach them the way. This lesson can be taught by modeling the behavior that you expect to see. After all, the lessons that we learn when we are young will chase us into adulthood. In general terms, if the home you grew up in was clean and tidy then you will expect those standards of yourself in adulthood. Teaching our children how to clean and the importance of cleaning from their toddler years on will serve them well.
Of course, all tasks and consequences should be age appropriate. A two year old can put their toys away and toys can no longer be available if they are not cared for. A teen can be safely taught how to use cleaning chemicals and lose privileges if they do not take care of what is expected of them.
Caring for our surroundings helps us take pride in and organize our lives. Teaching our teens that is always a good idea. Setting clear expectations and consequences is also essential.
Sharing & Co-Operation
Being able to share and co-operate are lessons we need to learn as children. As you can see from the article What Is Cooperative Play? Plus 6 Ideas To Try With Your Child – these lessons are reinforced in the relatively early years and only gain more and more nuance over time.
As our children grow, this capability allows them to be good colleagues, team players, students, and even members of social groups. It helps them defer benefits now in order to benefit in the future, as well as learn how to develop their empathy going forward. This also improves their social development, because as you can imagine, someone who is able to do this will be much more likely to make friends and benefit from social development through repeated exposure to them.
The ability to communicate carefully and appropriately, to be forthright and assertive in the appropriate moments, this comes from giving children the chance to speak, and listening to them when appropriate.
It also means helping them develop their self-esteem and willingness to discuss tough topics, by providing an open space where that kind of conversation can be raised. Often, teaching our children to use their words rather than to lash out physically is a lesson developed in early childhood, and will help their ability to negotiate and be diplomatic where appropriate.
This takes time on the part of any parent, and the willingness to reinforce such lessons over time. As you can see though, this time is vastly rewarded, as a life lesson given in such great terms can make a major difference.
One of the most important lessons, if not the most important lessons a child can learn involves self-care. Self-care is directly related to self-esteem. As parents, it’s up to us to help our children understand that. Self-care can include a myriad of things from the simple to the more involved. Extracurricular activities, for instance, such as a martial arts or dance club, are usually a key factor.
As they explore different activities, they will also be finding their passion. As the parent it is essential that you encourage them when they achieve and give them the tenacity to try again when they fail. Do not heap endless false praise in an attempt to soothe that natural up and down. Be there. Allow them to be unsure and fragile, if only because that’s natural and nothing to be ashamed of.
As you teach your children this, the more they will grow into someone who can regulate their self-esteem more readily. Teach them to recognize that if they put their mind to something it can work out.
Parenting a teenager certainly has its challenges and that is ok. Parenting a teenager will be easier if you lay the foundation from day one.