Ask any seasoned parent about the toughest time raising their kids and most will tell you it was the teenage years; a time of emotional stress for the child, as they begin to start the journey to adulthood. Arguments can easily flare up; teenagers often feel like the entire world is against them and we have put together a few tips to help you and your teenage kids enjoy a good relationship.
- Give clear behavioural guidelines – This really does help to avoid issues; if your child isn’t sure what is OK and what is not, there’s more chance they will cross the line and be reasonable when setting limits/restrictions. When they are off school, enrol them in a premium sports tour that excites them. There are quite a few sports tours to choose from and this is a positive way to spend downtime for a teenager.
- Show a high level of interest – This is important, as a teenager will quickly realise when their dad isn’t really listening; whatever it is you were doing, drop it and site down with your son and daughter and communicate without distractions. You might be tired after a hard day at the office and don’t really want to hear about an issue your child had with a teacher or a fellow student, yet you should make the effort and be attentive.
- Give encouragement and recognise effort – As a parent, it is your role to act as emotional support, regardless of the situation; if they lost in a team game, for example, remind them that there are winners and losers and focus on the positive aspects of their game. Try mentioning that you noticed how tidy their room is looking lately and reward for excellent academic performance. If they did well in an Australian sports tour, for example, you should comment and encourage improvement, which makes all the difference in their eyes.
- Spend time together – This can be difficult if you work all the hours God sends; if you don’t find the time to have a conversation with your teenage son or daughter, you could grow apart. Teenagers often look to their parents when things are not going well and if you are always busy, this makes the situation worse in the eyes of your child.
- Practical advice – You have already been down the road to adulthood and passing on your knowledge is very valuable for a child who is entering the teenage years. Try not to patronise when talking about anything; if you treat your growing child like an adult, they will respond accordingly and will appreciate this.
If you spend the time to nurture your relationship with your teenage kids, this will help them tremendously and always have time when they want to talk.