As a fresh little 18 year old that just moved out of the house, I’m here to give tips to all of the parents who aren’t parenting right, or just need some advice. I’ll try to be as general as possible, but knowing me that won’t happen. So bear with me, and try to adapt these for your own situation.
- Try to Understand Their Point of View. The teenage life is hard. We’re always trying to balance school, friends, family, activities, jobs, personal health, etc. while looking for some down time. If we’re ever cranky it’s because one of those is out of balance. Just keep asking how is life, how is school, do you need help with anything and always reassure us that you are there to help when we need it.
- We Mess Up. A Lot… And even when we mess up, we need you there to support us. NEVER EVER yell at us for doing something dumb. We learn from our mistakes and for us to learn, we need to realize the mistake for ourselves and not have you step in for us until we’re ready. If your kid is dating someone you don’t like, don’t step in unless we ask or you see us getting dragged down a very bad path. If we pick weird friends, same thing. We fail a test, just ask if we would like any help or if there is something you can assist in.
- We’re Still Growing Up. This point in life is very confusing because this is when we are still shaping who we are. We’re not kids, and we’re not quite adults. There’s a lot of things going on with us and we don’t know how to react to them just like parents don’t know how to react to them. Don’t push us towards a job if we aren’t ready, don’t push us towards driving if we aren’t ready, don’t push us towards dating if we aren’t ready and don’t hold us back from anything either.
- Give Out Smart Punishments. Yeah taking away our phone and computer and car would seem smart. Until it backfires. Now you can’t check to see if they made it home from school safely, or you’ll have to drive them to school. And seriously, the computer? How are we going to do homework? My suggestion is that you add chores around the house or have them work towards something. My mom always did it so that if I was bad, I would have to do my own laundry until I had redeemed myself. Or I would have to drive my siblings around to their activities on nights I was free. Something that is annoying, but not detrimental.
- Respect and Support Us. Yes we’re dumb, but we’re trying to find our way through life. So if your teen comes out of the closet, even if you don’t like that, you still need to respect and support us. We are still your kids. If we want to do music instead of athletics, like you hoped, you still need to respect and support us. We are not you. You can’t live your life through us. You need to give us all the opportunities you can to allow us to become who WE want to be, not who you want us to be
Those are just some basic tips on how to guide teens through life. Essentially we just need you there for us but we can’t have to hovering all over us either. It’s hard to realize that we’re becoming independent now, but it’s something we all do. So go out and support your kids activities and encourage them to be THEIR best and learn where in the world they can fit in.