Teen Parenting – ”Parenting That Is Full Of Challenges”
Parenting at any stage is not easy, whether it’s of a toddler or a teenager, or a young adult. Yes, if not treated as a mere obligation, it can be a lot of fun. There is no MOOL mantra for teen parenting. No parenting is perfect also. No parenting is foolproof also. It simply cannot be. We are dealing with an individual, after all. There are so many dynamics to every individual. Most importantly, unlike many things in life, parenting is something we cannot Google about. It happens with its ups and downs. It happens with its highs and lows. During the whole process, we learn, we relearn, and at times we unlearn also. Needless to say, we pine for those moments we have cribbed out when our birds take off.
Here Are Some Teen Parenting Skills To Deal With The Challenges Of Raising Them.
Teen Parenting Has No Set Rules
Teen Parenting has no set rules, and there are no tips as such. We all learn by our experiences. Our children grow. We keep learning and keep applying what we feel is the best for our children. Needless to say, our beliefs, our cultures, the presence of our parents, our family set up (whether nuclear or joint), our financial status, the way we choose to live, our local surroundings, our children’s company, our own company, their interests, our own interests, the school which they go to, the peer and teachers they interact with, the extracurricular activities they engage in, our own level of engagement and interaction with them, everything matters. Everything goes into rounding up our children.
Invest In Your Teenager’s Physical & Mental development
It is of paramount importance to invest in our teenager’s physical and mental health. We can enroll them in activities like sports, music, and cooking. We let them explore avenues. At the same time, not make it too busy for them. They need time for themselves. Their mind and body needs to relax. There’s already a lot going on in there.
Sensitize Your Teenager Towards Others
A growing children need to be sensitized towards others. We need to sensitize them to their grandparents. Sensitize them towards us. Sensitize them towards the other sex. The challenges the other-sex faces. Sensitize them towards their surroundings. Involve them in awareness programs, social services, animal welfare, etc. Needless to say, we do not need to push them. We can lead by example. If we do it, they will watch us and will slowly imbibe it.
We need to teach them to be kind, thankful, and humble. Talk to people of all strata with love and care. It all starts with our house helps. We should also let them do their work even if there are full-time workers around. Teach our growing children the dignity of labor. All these qualities will help them grow into a responsible citizen.
You Are Not Your Teenager’s Best Friend
Please remember, we are NOT our growing children’s best friend. Friends are of the same age group. When we say we are a friend, we are basically expecting our children to be with us precisely the way they are with their same age group friends. We are expecting them to share all that with us, that they share with their friends. That is a totally different bond. We CANNOT replace it or even substitute it. All we can do is, be an engaged parent. Be a listening parent. Be a trusting parent. We let the communications be open. Trust your child when they come and say, “mom-dad,” this is what I wish to be.
We should not force our desires and expectations or even our failures on them. Support them, nurture their dreams (of course, keep filling their blind spots and teach them to be real), love them for whatever they are, whoever they are. They will bloom like anything. They will be children of high self-confidence and self-esteem. And, they will surprise us in many wonderful ways we had not even dreamt of. They will be able to share their worries also with us without the fear of being judged.
Teenage Is A Good Time To Fix A Budget
Teenage is not a bad time to even start budgeting our children’s expenses. They will learn to be within the pocket money we decide for them. We should tell them openly what we can afford and what we cannot. Again, we should keep the communications open. They are growing into young adults now. They need to understand and accept certain facts. Also, we can gently try to keep track of their expenses just to ensure they don’t go haywire. Also, check this blog on Bringing Up Your Child In His Natural Environment.
Welcome Their Friends Home With Open Arms
We should always welcome our children’s friends home. Meet them. Sit with them for a while and interact. We don’t have to worry about the cooking part also. They’ll manage themselves. They would as they eat from outside mostly. On and off, we can keep talking to our children about their friends. This way, we would keep track of their friends and evaluate if they are right or wrong for our children. As they say, a man is known by a company he keeps. Teenagers are mostly oblivious to good or bad company. They just love to have friends around. Their life revolves around their friends mostly. We can check our children but only politely and slowly.
Encourage them to connect with children of the same thought process. Teach them to be fair in all matters, even money. Encourage them to help their friends when in need but not if they are doing anything wrong. They should be able to figure that basic difference. When they are stepping out with their friends, we can ask them to keep us informed of their whereabouts and, if possible, send us their Google locations too. Imperative to keep telephone numbers of their friends handy (only for emergency).
Respect The Boundaries Set By Your Teenagers
Children, as they grow, try to confine themselves to their friends, their activities, and even to their rooms. We need to respect the boundaries they draw. They are not hiding anything from us, but at the same time, they also don’t want to share everything with us. It is alright. Like they don’t need to know everything about us, we don’t as well. Yes, they need to be kept informed of the good and the bad influences. These could be company, drugs, and touch. We can do all that but without coming across to be intervening. We need to be alert for any unpleasant or suspicious signs by not giving them reasons to get uncomfortable. Otherwise, the chances are that they will go into their shells.
Don’t Wait For Your Children To Connect With You
We should keep connecting with our children even if they don’t. If they don’t visit us in our room, we should not wait to visit them in theirs. Of course, without getting OVERBEARING. We can go on in for a few minutes on the pretence of doing something, helping them out, or striking a short conversation. We can involve them in the small house chores with us. Or we can give them certain tasks. Sometimes, let them cook for everybody. Let them clear up their rooms, cupboards, etc.
Teenagers Are Not Selfish
We often feel that our teenagers behave selfish. However, the fact of the matter is that, that’s how their brain is wired. That’s how their hormones are progressing. Sooner or later, they start coming around. We just need to be patient. There’s no need to push them. Of course, we will have to make more efforts than they do. But we can do it easily. We can go for a meal or a movie together. Go for an excursion together. We can offer to help them in their tasks. It is also wrong to say that they don’t care. They do. It’s just that they do not like to make a big showcase of their feelings.
Your Children Have Not Seen Your Times
Let’s please not compare our children to what we were or what times we were in. They were NOT there then; they had not seen it. And, they won’t understand it also. We need to come out of the belief that, being a parent, we know it all or we have done it all. No, we haven’t! We were born in a different era. They are born in a different era. The dynamics and the influences are very different now. We need to try to accept the generation gap consciously and happily while we are in the stage of teen parenting.
Accept The Change
We need to remember that as our children grow, they don’t need us as much as they once did. They will come to us only when they feel the need to. If we wish to be happy and wish their happiness too, we need to accept their change. It’s a massive one, but it is how it is. We will have to find ways of connecting with them, and we will. The hard fact is that they may not feel us. We will have to feel them. Also, read here How to set healthy parenting boundaries with grandparents.
Once again, there are no set rules to teen parenting. There’s no Bible to it. It has to be fluid. It is also unfair to approach any parenting with any sort of judgment. Every family is different. Every family’s beliefs and cultures are different. As parents, all we need to do is whatever we do; we must not come in the way of our children’s dreams and aspirations. Yes, we need to teach them to dream real. A plan B must always be there.
Last but not least, as a parent, we can ONLY try. Our children might want us to melt in the background, but they would never seize to depend on us emotionally. Of course, in their own ways.
Lastly, ”Welcome to the world of Teen Parenting. Be prepared for a lot of eye-rolling, emotional outbursts, and thoughts of fleeing. And that’s just the parents!”