As much as you’d like your teen to feel that you’re a friend more than a parent, they’re at such an age where it’s going to be hard for them to treat you as a buddy.
Instead of trying to be a friend that your adolescent child does not want, you need to be a mature, level-headed and caring supporter who they know is always there for them, no matter what.
Here are six tips that will help you embrace your role as the leader and mentor your teenager needs in their life right now.
Cultivate the skill of being a patient listener
When our children are young, we are used to calling the shots and talking more than listening. However, a teenager wants you to hear them out without judgment and opinionated advice.
To win your teen’s heart, make sure they know that they can turn to you and pour their heart out, which will not only increase their confidence in your ability to listen to them, it will also foster a deeper, lifelong connection based on mutual respect.
Accept your teen’s newfound need for privacy and freedom
It can be hard for a parent to adjust to their teen’s sudden need for privacy and me-time, but the sooner you accept that your little one is not so little anymore and needs his or her own space to grow and learn, the better.
Respecting your child’s privacy and allowing them the freedom to make decisions will show them that you trust them and believe in their ability to make independent decisions. Supervise your teen—she needs it, but don’t hover over her life to the point of stifling her independence.
Set an example with your actions and not your words
Every parent wants their teenager to grow into a responsible and well-adjusted adult, but many forget that children learn more from our actions than our words. So cultivate the habit to speak less and do more in order to show your teen how a responsible, kind and honest adult behaves and functions.
Despite their rebellious behavior, teens are subconsciously looking for a role model, and you can be one if you make the effort.
Don’t surrender family time
While it may have become increasingly difficult to get your teen to enjoy some family time with you and her siblings, you need to stand your ground and insist that they participate in weekly family outings or indoor quality time with no gadgets in sight.
Your teen may complain now but they will thank you for those moments ten years down the line when they’re all grown up and need a strong foundation of memories to turn to when life gets hard.
In a nutshell, give your teen the freedom they need but remember not to give in to their every whim and fancy just to make them like you.
Fostering a teenager
If you’re a foster parent to a teenager, you may be facing additional challenges stemming from the child’s past experiences in addition to the usual trials and tribulations of raising an adolescent.
Teenage is a time when a child needs unconditional love, support and guidance from an adult they can trust, and welcoming a teenager in need into your home is a great way to give them a solid foundation upon which to build their adult life.
Keen to get a deeper insight into fostering? Take a look at https://perpetualfostering.co.uk/insights/everything-you-need-to-know-about-fostering-before-you-apply/—an in-depth blog post that educates and informs first-time foster parents about what to expect from the experience.
Don’t stop expressing your love
As a child grows older, parents tend to be less and less vocal about their feelings. Teenagers everywhere get way fewer hugs than their younger siblings, partly because they sound like they don’t want physical affection anymore.
On the contrary, research shows that adolescence is a time when children need to be hugged the most, to help them deal with the many challenges of this tumultuous period in their lives.
So, whatever your teen says, never cease to stop telling them how much you love and value them, and sneak in a hug or two every time you get a chance. Something as simple as an unconditional “I love you no matter what” can turn around a bad day for your teen.