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Raising Teens? Six Tips Every Parent Can Benefit From

Some of the most difficult parenting years occur when your child is between the ages of twelve and eighteen, and the dreaded teenaged years can be almost impossible to navigate without some solid advice. It’s important to realize that teens are actually developing social skills and values that will contribute immensely to the kind of adult they’re rapidly becoming, so finding that balance between strict control and leniency is essential.

Provide Structure

Although a little teenage independence is healthy, it’s equally important to establish consistent ground rules and make sure there are consequences for breaking them. Be specific with boundaries by telling your teen exactly what’s expected of them and explain why those rules are in place.

Build Trust

At the same time, allowing your teenager a little more freedom will help to develop a sense of personal responsibility and self-discipline. Holding them accountable for doing the right thing or being in the right place at the right time will give them a head-start for when you’re not around to tell them what to do, like college.

Model Good Behavior

Don’t expect that old adage “Do as I say, not as I do” to work. Children learn behavior from their parents, and teenagers exemplify those norms in their own activities. Instead of just telling them the values and social behaviors you want them to practice, show them what to do through your own actions.

Talk About Feelings

Teenagers can very easily become isolated and moody at home, but teaching them to verbalize their feelings at an early age will help to contextualize their swinging emotional states and make them feel more in control and less likely to act out.

Teach Safe Driving

There’s more to driving than just operating the vehicle and obeying traffic laws. Teach your teenagers how to drive safely by instilling in them good driving practices, like never texting while driving and keeping both hands on the steering wheel. A drunk driving lawyer may be needed if your teen got behind the wheel after drinking. You should teach them that there are not only consequences at home for such actions, but also legal consequences.

Get Them Involved

Make sure your teen is involved in some sort of structured activity, be it a team sport or volunteering with a local charity. Working with others will discourage selfish behavior while teaching your teenager how to be empathetic to those around them, a skill that will come in handy later in life.

No matter what your parenting style, raising teenagers can truly test the limits of your patience and self-control. The most important thing to remember when dealing with your teen is that small things often seem overwhelming to them, so try to see things from their perspective and communicate your own effectively.

Tim Esterdahl

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