In fact, this transition can quickly change your status from being the best pal and smartest parent around, to a parent who is now annoying, not cool, and simply getting in the way of your teenager’s social calendar.
Nevertheless, wrestling with the demands of these early teen years is part of the parental journey of keeping your child safe, doing well in school, and providing guidance for their decision making. While the words are easy to say, the actions are more difficult and, in some instances, will require a diligent effort just trying to stay one step behind them. If you are a parent struggling with the challenges of dealing with your teenager, try doing the following:
Remember That You’re the Parent First—Then a Friend
While it’s easier and more fun to be your teenager’s friend when things are going well, there will inevitably be times when things will go wrong requiring your parental role to emerge, especially if it’s serious. In that regard, don’t compromise your responsibility as a parent just to be a friend, since it could result in long-lasting consequences.
Establish Guidelines and Boundaries
Don’t just rely on your teenager to meet all of your expectations without any firm guidelines or boundaries when it comes to doing homework, chores, or respecting curfews. Try to set reasonable rules that are clear and be mindful of the non-negotiable ones—then stick to them. So often, parents allow too much flexibility that tends to erode any rules and, as a result, end up with a frustrating outcome.
Network with Other Parents
Since you will be, more than likely, placed on a need to know basis by your teenager, it is important to establish relationships with other parents. Sharing information with each other will keep you in the loop and help to prevent you from getting blindsided by any inappropriate behavior.
Get Connected to the School
Be certain to take advantage of the on-line systems offered by the school that are usually parent friendly. Not only does this provide you with first-hand knowledge to monitor your teenager’s academic progress, it will also verify what you’re being told. Also, make sure that your student is aware that you are reviewing the status and don’t forget to give praise on any good reports. Furthermore, attend as many parent / teacher conferences as possible in order to get more specific details on how things are going.
Reduce or Eliminate the Distractions
These days, teenagers are exposed to many distractions through television, cell phones, and social networking that can be more of a priority than schoolwork, eating properly, and getting enough sleep. For these reasons, it’s critical that you place limitations on these activities if you expect your child to function properly.
There Need to be Consequences
Finally, in order for your expectations to be met, there need to be consequences when things go wrong, especially if they are serious or repetitive. The truth is, without any consequences, it will be difficult for your teenager to follow the rules. Besides, implementing temporary restrictions or loss of privileges is far less of an issue now than the consequences you may face in future years by not doing anything.
In summary, while dealing with an early teen can be exhaustive and frustrating at times, following these suggestions can reduce or prevent some of the challenges and frustrations that you may face.
Some tips work for some but not others. What has worked for you?