Parents, let’s face it, it’s one thing to raise a child, but another to deal with a teenager. The teenage age is tricky. In fact, most people swear that it’s the make or break stage. This is the stage just before adulthood and the child thinks they are grown enough and that they know better. They’re also going through a lot of changes – a hormonal surge in their bodies, physical changes and you could say that sure, they have a lot going on. For any parent, this is a tricky stage and it can get tough to raise a teenager. Lucky for you, we have some tips to help you manage your teenager.
1. Remember you’re still the adult.
At the end of the day, don’t forget that you’re still the adult here. You are still the tone setter and you call the shots. You must instill discipline in your child and ensure that they respect you because the minute they lose respect for you, it may be hard to regain it, as teenagers often flex their independence muscles and begin to think that they know it all.
2. Listen to the teen.
At this point, your child is beginning to question their identity and to be fair, also going through a lot of changes. They may want their own space and independence and it’s important for you to be able to strike a balance between being ‘the always wanting to know what’s going on in your life’ kinda mum as well as the ‘let me give you your space' kinda mum. Encourage them and guide them in their path to branch out on their own into independence and adulthood.
3. Have clear expectations for your teen.
Have a clear guideline of what exactly is required of them at home – a set of rules they need to follow must be established. Whether it is homework being done on time, or house chores, how much TV they should watch etc. Be willing also to meet them halfway; and not necessarily be that strict mum whom they fear, but one they can approach any time they feel the need to talk to someone.
Now discipline is very important. Once you have set the expectations of how you want things to run in the home, you need to also set up disciplinary measures. You simply cannot be too lenient with a teenager, but at the same time, not too strict either – again, it’s all about striking a balance. Let them know that when they follow the rules and behave accordingly, there will be no trouble but when the opposite happens, some grounding will follow up and it’s a simple as that. Parents often become too soft and too lenient with their kids and that is what makes these teenagers lose manners and start acting up because they know that no one will discipline them. You need to teach them that that is how the world works – there will always be rules, at the work place, at school and pretty much everywhere they go. Once that is cultivated in them, life will be easier.
5. Allow for some self-expression.
This is really important. As aforementioned, this is the stage that your teenager is beginning to have that sense of identity and they may want to dress a certain way or wear their hair in a certain way. Do not be too rigid. Allow them to express themselves but, within safe boundaries and with moderation. For instance, you don’t want your child getting a tattoo as a teenager but, they can rock a certain hairstyle even if it’s not too conventional. But if it sits well with your values, then let them be. Not allowing your child to express himself or herself is one of the main things that cause a rift between parents and their teenage children. Be open to listening to the ideas your child presents and try to meet them halfway instead of simply refusing.
6. Social media.
Have very clear rules about the phone, internet and social media. In this digital age, there’s so much information out there and your child can be exposed to not just bad vices like pornography, but also online predators. Limit screen time and ensure that you clearly have guidelines that need to be followed to the letter. You could for instance tell your child that if you find them on sites you have warned them about, or extending their screen time, you will confiscate the phone or that they are grounded. It’s important to ensure that your child is not addicted to social media. Sit your child down let them know of the dangers of social media and that you have full access to the phone so as to know that they are doing responsible things on the phone and also let them know of the timings they are allowed to use it.