You’ve probably heard that popular saying: “The only thing harder than being a teenager is raising one.” The teenage years are characterized as the passage from adolescence to adulthood, well, parenting teenagers is a sort of passage too – a journey from parenting a dependent child to being the parent of an independent child. These seemingly interminable years are often equally turbulent and remarkable for both parents and teens.
For teens, adolescence is marked by raging hormones, peer pressure, a rising individuality and a fight for independence, puberty, physical changes, emotional ups and downs, social acceptance, body image, sexual curiosity, self-discovery, and academic demands. These trials can feel like an uncontrollable rollercoaster and that instability can leave teens hypersensitive and moody. For parents, adolescence is marked by how much freedom to allow, how much insolence to take, how to embed values, how to navigate ever-changing moods, what punishments are effective, what issues are important, what concerns are trivial, when to step in, and when to step back.
Parenting a teenager can be challenging, taxing your patience, backbone and ingenuity. These challenges may be met with both success and failure. Work toward strengths and triumphs and learn from failings and letdowns. Many consider adolescence to be the most difficult and worrisome time to be a parent. Often, establishing your new role in your teen’s life can be confusing, discomforting and hurtful. Many times parents will sense an increasing detachment between themselves and their children. These feelings, changes, and altered roles are a normal and healthy part of adolescence.
Every teen’s adolescence is unique, wrought with one-of-a-kind struggles and achievements; however, there are universal approaches to adolescence that can help teens make the right choices, partake in positive social interactions, build self-confidence, avoid detrimental behavior and dangerous activities, act with decency and integrity, and develop healthily. To help foster healthy growth parents can establish a steady, reliable, warm, loving, and positive parent-child relationship. Parents should promote respect, honesty, firm boundaries, a genuine interest in their teen’s activities, encouragement, a stable home life, parental monitoring, and independent thoughts and beliefs.