The adolescent years. It’s when the joy of raising a child takes that scary and sudden left turn. Adolescents is a period when children start transitioning into adults, thus they begin wanting to be treated like one and begin taking matters into their own hands. It isn’t an easy time for parents.
I can recall with ease how tough it was on my mother and father. I used to ditch school often and stay out all night. My brother had a super short temper and ran away for the slightest of reasons, though his version of running away was storming out of the house and walking around the block at midnight. Imagine, this is where you nine year old can be in four or five short years. Sounds like a lot of worrying and a lot of arguments, but don’t despair just yet. We’ve got some tips for keeping your adolescent kid in check.
Find Common Ground
Sharing a common interest with your teen will turn you from a nagging parent to someone they admire. That’s at least how it worked for me. Whereas my mother was a bit overtly strict and faced us in a constant state of worry and question asking, my father was cool. He had great taste in music and films. As a kid I was big on music and he knew more about it then anyone I knew. He’d slowly supply me with new bands, going from commercial acts to really obscure ones. This cemented a bond between us. I didn’t want to let my dad down. I didn’t want him to see me put a fuss over anything. My mom on the other hand would only challenge me and I didn’t mind going into battle with her.
No matter how in charge your teen thinks they are, they still needs you. If your kid is giving you trouble, simply withhold money from them. Doing this is a perfect way to turn that attitude around. Teens don’t have jobs. When they go out with no money, they aren’t doing anything amazing. Usually they’re just hanging around the mall or a community center or something. At the end of the day, the quality of their teenage life is in your hands.
Listen Without Giving Advice
When your teen vents to you, just listen and nod. If they ask for advice then feel free to give it, but don’t force it on them. At the end of the day you’re probably pushing forty and even if you do understand and relate, they won’t see it that way. Growing up, I would never approach my mother with any of my problems because I knew the approach she’d take. She’d reference parenting books or religious leaders and I just wasn’t about that. I was in school trying to be cool. My father on the other hand would relate through stories from his high school days, it was much more interesting and felt for authentic.