The Important Challenge of Parenting Teenagers
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Parenting Teenagers

By: Nancy Sander

Parenting a teenager, wow, ‘in this day and age,’ this is a tough proposition. Although some are able to handle it well, many parents are overwhelmed with worry. Because of the availability and easy access in our fast-paced culture, teens can hear, see, and participate in activities that can give parents grey hair.

What is the best way to accomplish this daunting job? Read on; you just might discover some tactics to help you be successful in parenting a teenager. Make every effort to establish workable communication between you and your teenager. This will be one of your best strategies, while parenting your teenager. This can be somewhat difficult, if you have let your previous relationship with your teen fall away, or you never really had a workable communicating relationship previously. An open line of communication allows you the ability to listen to your child’s life though their perception, through their eyes. With communication open, your teen may be willing to ask for help, or at least you will be able to discern when help is necessary. Teens usually go to peers for help. This can be the ‘blind leading the blind.’ With communication, you will be able to be an active part in your teen’s support system and networking. Your teen may even listen to you occasionally. You will most likely find it easier to set appropriate limits and boundaries and to explain your perspective.

Here is another tough task; spend time with your teen. I realize that your teen usually runs out of the house to be with friends. How else will you be able to discern the type of adult your teen is on the path to become? Take some time to consider this task; it is so important in parenting the teenager. You should aim for this especially if you are a busy working parent. You will find the time spent with your teen invaluable. Use what you have at hand to encourage your teen to spend time with you and the family. Here is an example; your daughter wants to redecorate her room in red and white. She says the lilac is so grammar school. Ah, what might be involved in this project? Maybe getting the carpet cleaned, purchasing throw rugs, buying new bed linens, sorting through hundreds of paint swatches, deep discussions about painting the walls red, and setting a limit for the teen to put in as much ‘sweat equity’ into this project and you do. Here is where you have an opportunity to use your new communication skills in parenting a teenager. Your teen will beg, get angry, attempt to manipulate, pout, and give you the silent treatment during this project. As always, use your patience. Remember what you have learned about your teen’s perspective on life.

Another of your tasks is to remain calm. Set your expectations for this project and allow your teen to identify his/her expectations.

Another task is to have the project be ‘fun.’

Spending time with your teenager after work will offer opportunities to see some school assignments, or to help with new assignments. If you ask, “How was your day?” Just accept the answer of ‘fine.’ Now if you get an attitude, such as “Mind your own business!” That is a different issue altogether.

Maximize the weekends. Plan some activities or trips based in your parenting goals. These activities are best if both you and your teen can tolerate it, at worst, and enjoy it, at best. Do not force your teen to attend a family activity on a weekend when you knew your teen planned to spend the night with her best friend. The object is to know each other better, not drive each other crazy. Use this time not only to help parenting your teenager but also to allow you to relax and take your mind off work. While parenting your teenager with goals, the importance of the family will shine through.

Do not forget to show your love and appreciation to your teenager as well. Never be phony, but do give praise for even the behaviors that you expect. “Thanks for taking the garbage out; it was really beginning to sink!” Through actions, words, and deeds, let your teen know that you and the whole family are his backup. No matter what happens, there will be support and guidance for him/her.

These are just some of the basics of parenting a teenager.

Life is full of challenges, and parenting your teenager is a big one. It is the most important challenge we face. You are the best judge of your strengths and your weaknesses. Don’t let this frustration cause you to lose sight of your parenting goals for your family. Create your own goals with an online parenting coach. There is value to increasing and improving each parenting skill and getting new ideas for parenting a teenager. Get new ideas; learn how to be the successful parent that I know you are with Parenting 101 Success


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