It’s official! I just moved into the next stage of parenting…my son turned 13 yesterday! It is awe- inspiring to think of that little bundle of joy…that today stands inches taller than me…is able to lift heavier things than me…and reads books thicker than mine!
If you are a parent of a teenager you know what I mean when I say ‘awe-inspiring’! Seems like just yesterday your teen was a little baby and had that awesome baby smell and you could not cuddle him enough…and today he wants to spray big boy cologne and gives you hugs from far! The journey from baby-hood to teen-hood goes by so fast – and while you might not have changed, your baby certainly has!
So, as a parent of a one teen to another, today I would like to share some tips that you can use to help you understand your teen better, and apply a different parenting approach that could benefit you and your teen through the turbulent years ahead!
Get Updated: the first tactic is to learn more about the world of your teen. Similar to a refresher course or ‘continuing education credits’ one would invest in to stay abreast with the latest and greatest in their careers – as a child enters his teens years, I highly recommend that every parent get a refresher course on Parenting! As the more you know, the better prepared you will be! So read about expected body changes, pimples and braces, mood changes, shift in centres of influence from the family to the peer group, interest in the opposite sex, the Justin Bieber (or Lady GaGa) hairdo, short skirts, latest teen music and other ‘teen’ related gyan!
Pick your battles: part of being a teen is ‘rebelling’ and trying to strike out on their own. According to psycho-social development theorists, this is actually a healthy sign! This means your teen is trying to think for himself, is trying to be independent and is trying to ‘flap’ his wings and get ready to someday soon fly the nest. As a parent, however heart breaking that thought of your child leaving the nest might seem today, it is inevitable and in fact, I would argue is a sign of effective and confident parenting! So, parents, be prepared for your child to ‘rebel’ – “No , I won’t” or “Why should I…” will become familiar phrases that will question your parental ‘authority’. And the old saviour – logic – will just not help. You will need to be wise and pick your battles, and use the precious time you spend with your teen to focus more serious issues. So don’t get caught up or distracted by your son’s long hair and your daughter’s black nail polish [the school principal will deal with that!], instead talk to them about the dangers of drugs or the internet sites they frequent.