Here are some tips to help you navigate the murky waters of parenting a teen …
- Expect that teenagers will be emotional/irrational at times and cut them some slack. Remember that they are hearing and absorbing more than you think, and that includes your reactions and overreactions.
- Ensure that it is in ways that are age-appropriate, but allow your child/teen to assert some control of their lives and be autonomous. This will lead to less rebellion and more confidence and self-regulation.
- Always advocate for your child. This means doing what is needed to get them the supports they need in school–advocate for a 504 plan or IEP, call for that extra meeting, get outside evaluations so that you are informed and have the fodder you need to effect the change needed.
- Remember that getting your school-age child the supports/services they need now is less scary than watching them be ill-equipped to navigate today’s culture, climate, and challenges without them.
- Try to spend at least 15 minutes daily of one-on-one time with your child/teen to create a closer parent-child bond. Also, allow them to take the lead in selecting the activity or task.
- When you see your child engage in desired behaviors or handling their responsibilities, compliment and praise them, and say it again, every time you see it.
- Tell your kids how great they are, how proud of them you are, and how much you love them.