Can parenting a teenager be hard work? You bet! In fact, sometimes it can be more difficult than managing a career. This is a tough responsibility for any married couple, made even more difficult should your home be a single parent home. There is a great deal of pressure involved in helping to shape the life of a child. This pressure can build to a point where you may feel that you just don’t know what to do anymore.
In addition to the developmental years when a child's brain and personality are developing, another crucial period in a child's life cycle are the teenage years. With so many challenges during the teenage years, it's not uncommon for a parent to sometimes wish the child would just stay a child, or magically grow into adulthood overnight. The teenage years are a period that the child, and the parents, will have to deal with; as the child's experiences during this period will shape their lives, habits, and behavioral patterns that will define their adulthood.
Sometimes, surviving the challenge of teenage parenting is easier said than done.
During a child's teenage years emotions run high, and hormones are raging. Add to that enormous peer pressure, and social group dynamics which sometimes force a teenager to make decisions, and choices they are not yet prepared to make. The desire to “fit in" quite often contradicts the teachings of parents, and many times is the reason a child will get involved in drinking, drugs, gang life, and even early pregnancy.
This time period of teenage parenting is quite often the cause of a great deal of stress in the family. To avoid the meltdowns, and foster greater understanding between parent and teenager, here are a few tips that may prove helpful:
See Things Through Their Eyes
There is no greater sense of a generation gap than when trying to parent a teenager. Todays issues in a teenagers life can be things that parents know little about, or cannot completely understand. Many times, in these cases, the parent resorts to enforcing discipline without really understanding what the issue is about.
This parental response is one of the most common mistakes made by parents when dealing with their teenage children. They too quickly forget that times change with each generation, and what was true in their time may no longer be true.
Parents must make a determined effort to understand their children's situation. When parents increase their understanding of just what is going on in their teenagers life, they can then can make an informed decision as to whether or not discipline is necessary, or even warranted. Talk to your teenager, and listen to your teenager. If discipline is in order, be sure that they understand why. That way, a mutual understanding can be made regarding the situation, and even if they do not agree with your actions, they should at least appreciate your efforts to understand them. This open communication regarding a problem will also help them develop a better understanding of you.
Always Encourage Openness
Parenting your teenager with policies that are too strict is self-defeating in regards to the development of mutual trust. Open communication between parents and teenagers is key in developing the mutual respect that is necessary during this time period. You can impose all the rules you want - “you can't do this, " you can't go there". But, without mutual trust and understanding there is no way you can be sure your directives are being listened to, or if they are even necessary.
Be open to conversation, encourage your teenager to confide in you, and listen to what they have to say. While parenting your teenager may not be easy, it can be successfully done with mutual trust and understanding.
Carl DiNello is an Article Author whose articles are featured on websites covering the Internet's most popular topics.
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