If you are a parent and your son or daughter is in their teenage years, this can be a roller-coaster ride, as hormones kick in and the youngster tries to make sense of it all. Then there’s the danger your child will hang around with the wrong crowd, yet you have to give them a level of freedom and hope that common sense prevails.
Here are a few useful tips for dealing with teenage children.
- Develop a calm disposition – When emotions run high, that’s when things can get heated and from a parent’s perspective, it is best to try to retain a calm and collected disposition. Be logical and when you have to say no, do give your reasons and never close down a dialogue with ‘because I said so!’ This can be difficult at times, for sure, but becoming emotional will do nothing but complicate the issue. We totally understand how tough this can be; counting to ten before responding is always a last resort; look at it like a test of your patience, which you should pass with flying colours.
- Encourage sports & outdoor pursuits – If your child has no particular sport they are interested in, enrol them in Athletic Buddha’s after school care in Concord West, with 3 different start times. The program is designed to be challenging and fun, which engages the students and is an outlet for the never-ending supply of energy that teenagers seem to have. The sessions are run by lively young instructors who know how to engage teenage kids and that might unlock a door to a hidden passion your child might have.
- Communication – This is the key to a quiet home life; set ground rules about what time they must be home and where they can go and try to talk to your child as you would an adult, which a teenager would respond positively to. If your son or daughter feels that they can confide in you without you being judgmental, they are far more likely to ask you for advice when they need it. Make the limits very clear and elicit understanding, which can often stop an argument arising and try to be reasonable; you have to give your child some freedom and a level of independence. Teach your child how to use the Internet as a self-learning resource, which will prove invaluable in later years.
- Limiting Online Time – Most teenagers would stay online all day and night if allowed and it is up to you to set times when they can surf the net. Of course, homework and chores must be completed before chatting with their online friends and you might wish to activate porn filters on the WiFi, for obvious reasons. If you have a teenage daughter, then you need to be aware of what she is doing online, as there are sexual predators who pose as teenagers in popular chat forums. It is essential that you monitor your child’s internet use, which will ensure they are not exposed to the wrong type of people and content.
- Discuss the Future – The early teenage years is the time to be thinking about a career and this can give your child a firm direction. Help them to source information online about specific careers and support any interest in a suitable way. It is oh so easy to ‘pick’ a career for your child, yet this often leads to unhappiness and might even waste a few years, and while you might want your son to be a doctor or lawyer, that might not be what they had in mind.
- Encourage Suitable Hobbies & Pastimes – Teenage kids are easily bored and if your son or daughter does have a suitable hobby, you should encourage their participation. If they don’t seem to be interested in anything outside of the Internet, introduce activities and take note of any interest. Sports are obviously ideal as they allow the teenager to expel energy, plus it gives them a much-needed physical workout.
- Delegate Responsibility – Teenagers want so much to be an adult, it hurts! If you have younger kids, why not make your oldest child responsible for the care of their younger sibling? Allow them to do chores around the house and all teenagers respond best when they are treated as an adult, which you should always bear in mind.
- Talk About Controversial Topics – When it comes to things like sexuality and illegal substances, it is best to take a proactive approach; find informative documentaries about the dangers of drug use and there’s nothing wrong with discussing the facts of life. Try to resist the temptation to tell your kids what they must do when talking about drugs, rather point out the dangers and tell it like it is.
If you are having issues with your teenage son or daughter, here is some government information about parenting, which is recommended reading for all parents.