Things to avoid when parenting teens:
If you parent teens, you are going to make mistakes. There is no denying that these are difficult years, and when your teen happens to be a particularly difficult one to parent, your job can be even more challenging. One way to make it a little less difficult is to avoid some common mistakes and to learn to recognize them when you do make them.
Teens do not respond well to lectures, yet it seems to be the first line of attack that many parents take when their kids are acting up. Remember, your teens are nearing their adult years, and they want to be treated in a somewhat adult manner. You need to find a way to discuss difficulties with them, instead of lecturing, while still maintaining your authority as the parent.
To effectively guide your teen in the right direction, keep discussions open, and in general, avoid telling teens outright that they’re wrong. Instead, try to formulate the conversation in such a way that your teen feels he or she has made the conclusion on their own.
Making empty threats
Most parents of teens will attest to the fact that they have, on occasion, barked angrily, “Fine, you’re grounded!” at their child in a moment of frustration.
Many times, though, parents fail to follow through on these consequences after they threaten their child with them. This can destroy your child’s respect for you. If you state that there will be a consequence, then you need to follow through.
If you decide afterwards that the punishment was too hastily administered or was not deserved, then you need to clearly tell your teen why you changed your mind. Make these exceptions rare, however, because this too will eventually undermine your child’s respect for you if exceptions are too frequent.
Failing to make family time a priority
Your teen needs family time, no matter how much he or she might argue to the contrary. Make sure that you make family time of some sort a priority, even if it’s something as simple as eating dinner together. Your kid is going to want to eat, and if you require family meals, then he will have to spend some time with the family in order to get fed. Family time gives you the chance to notice changes in mood or behavior before they turn into disasters. It also reinforces your love for your child, even when your child is being difficult.
Staying behind the times
You do not necessarily have to be a “hip” parent, but staying too far behind the times is going to make it difficult for you to connect with your kids. You should take the time to understand the technology they use, listen to the bands they love, and watch the television programs they like. Not only will this give you something to talk about, but it will also give you insight into potentially damaging media influences.
Teens are challenging to parent; there’s no denying that. But you can do it- and successfully at that, as long as you’re willing to keep trying. You simply need to remember that your child is going to push back. They are going to constantly test your boundaries and the limits of your patience, but do not give up on them. Keep the rules consistent, be vigilant in enforcing them, and soon, your teen will catch on.
Refusing to seek help
Remember, most teens eventually outgrow their teenage behaviors and attitudes. Sometimes, though, a teen’s behavior can go beyond simple teenage rebellion. If your son or daughter is surrounded by negative influences, is experiencing trouble in school, exhibits a defiant personality, has begun to use drugs or alcohol, or is otherwise struggling with growing up, it could be time to seek help from an outside source. Boarding schools are an excellent resource for helping you and your teen through the teenage years.
Unlike military schools, which employ a discipline-only program, some boarding schools have a more balanced approach to helping teens. At certain types of boarding schools, students are rehabilitated through a time-tested and individualized program consisting of both discipline and reward. Students receive the love and guidance they need to transition from a troubled teen into an emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually healthy young adult.