How to handle Your Teenage Kids

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HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Support, respect and honour your teen child.
  2. Be open to their friends.
  3. Set clear boundaries and don’t always suspect your teenager.
  4. Show them that you love them.

Teenagers are predisposed to multiple personality changes that occur due to hormonal influences. Puberty is a time when many teenagers are subject to mental and emotional change as they begin to find their place in society.

Research shows that our brains doesn’t fully develop until we are in our twenties. The frontal lobe which helps us control our emotions and decisions is still developing in teenagers. This means that parents need to be patient and more understanding of their teenage kids who are still growing and changing. Rather than expecting them to act like adults, you need to treat them differently and prepare yourself for the irritability and instability that comes with teenagers.

Support and Respect Your Child

The first thing to gaining the trust of your teenager is to support them. If they have habits that are good, then indulge in them. For example, if they like to play the guitar, encourage them and don’t always criticise them.

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Also, don’t treat them as a child but instead as a young adult. This means that you shouldn’t shut them down or always scold them. Rather, you should encourage them to talk to you while you listen non-judgmentally. Do not mock, insult or belittle your teenage child, this makes them insecure and forces them into a shell that is difficult to break.

Be Friendly with Their Friends

The most common reason for parents distrusting their child is that they are not sure what they are doing in their spare time, and which kind of company they are keeping. This issue can easily be resolved by allowing and encouraging your child to bring home his/her friends. This way you get to see the kind of friends your teenager has, and advise accordingly. You can also keep an eye on the kind of activities they indulge in.

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The important thing to remember is that the more open you are, the lower the chances of keeping secrets.

Don’t Distrust Your Child

Teenagers go through a ton of peer pressure; they are constantly fearful of what their friends think of them, how they look and how they behave. A parent and family should not contribute to this mistrust by constantly assuming that their child is up to no good. Rather than assuming that your child is bad, and always suspecting him or her of the worst deed, it is better to be straightforward and ask direct questions. Believe your child except in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Set Clear Boundaries

Let your child know what chores they need to do, when they should be back home and what activities they can’t indulge in. Make sure to set clear boundaries and stick to them. Your child will try to outmanoeuvre you and find a way around your boundaries, but you need to be firm with teenagers.

Be Patient and Loving

It is so easy for parents to lose their cool, get angry and scream at their teenage children. But parents need to remember their own teenage years and the difficulties they faced. Teenagers are always trying to prove themselves to everyone, don’t be one of those. Make allowances for small mistakes. Be patient when demanding chores to be done. Learn to talk to your teenager and not scream at them.

When your teenager does something good, lavish praise on them. Positive reinforcement helps them grow their self-esteem, makes them more likely to obey you, and lets them see you as a friend.

Combine love, patience and a firm hold, and you will have a good teenager in no time.

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