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Raising Kids: Advice for Parents when Dealing with Teenagers
How to Raise Kids
So your child has reached the teenage years, congrats for getting here; I bet you had your doubts once or twice if this day would come huh? Don’t worry; every parent has had to endure rough patches with their children. Personalities clash, conflicts get loud and argumentative, etc., these issues go with the territory when you are a parent.
Right before our oldest became a teenager he and my wife (his mother) would butt heads over EVERYTHING; if something could be argued over they found a way to do it. I remember coming home from work one night to find my wife completely frazzled. As any good husband should do I asked her what was wrong. She took my invitation and proceeded to download all of the bad things our son did during the day. I don’t recall all of the details but I will never forget how she concluded the conversation, she told me that she now understands why animals in the wild eat their young.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that frustrated parents eat their young. My reason for mentioning this is because my wife is a terrific mother. She has taught both of our kids how to act and how to be responsible members of our society. My point is that even great parents get frustrated now and then so don’t beat yourself up when it happens to you; I’m sure Dr. Phil has gotten irritated with his children once or twice over the years.
Most of us remember all of the drama we put our parents through when we were teenagers. I know I did some things that drove my parents batty but I also know plenty of other people that did way worse, like my little brother or my sister-in-law. Fortunately no jail time was ever done but I think it was close, on more than one occasion.
Parenting a teenager can be a lot of fun, if you want it to be. We started our family when we were young so we find it very easy to relate to what they are going through. I think “older” parents might struggle with this just a little bit because of the generation gap. If you started your family in your middle to late thirties, or later, this connection might take a little bit more effort but it can certainly be accomplished.
Resolving a Conflict
Do you find it difficult to resolve conflicts with your teenagers?
We show both of our teenagers that we are genuinely interested in what they are doing. Our interest can be regarding their friends at school, an extracurricular event or even a TV show. The key is being sincere. Teenagers have some kind of sixth sense that can detect when someone is pulling their chain about something. If you don’t really care about their interests it is not reasonable to expect them to care about yours. Build up that trust and your relationship together will flourish.
Teenagers are dealing with so many things. Their bodies are consistently changing, they are noticing the opposite sex, plus school drama, etc. are all weighing heavily on their minds. This might explain why sometimes they just snap and act out. Adults do it too; we just have different avenues to vent our frustrations. We can go to bars or talk to friends or our spouses about our ignorant boss or some unreasonable deadline we have at work. Our kids haven’t learned how to a handle all of these new challenges yet so we, as their parents, have to teach them.
We have learned that building a trusting relationship, where both sides can openly talk about what is going on, is a huge plus in raising our kids. Patience and understanding cannot be overlooked either. Don’t be afraid to just listen and let them tell you what is going on in their lives. They will appreciate the attention you are paying them and this open line of communication is also crucial to keeping them safe as well. Who knows, they might want to go to a party one day and if you don’t just sit down and talk once in a while, you might not really know what this party is all about.
I remember thinking my parents were way out of touch when I was a teenager. They were too old (they were 31 and 27 when I was born) or too old fashioned, too protective or too un-reasonable. I can still remember when it all hit me; our son was just shy of two years old and our daughter was a couple of months away from being born. All those years I thought those less than flattering things about my parents and I didn’t even realize how dead right they were in how they raised us.