Parenting teens can be a challenge to even the most experienced parent. Here are ten easy tips to help you through the teen years.
* Help them find something they are good at doing. Every child needs a hobby or sport that they enjoy doing and that gives them a sense of accomplishment. What are your child’s strengths? Do they enjoy art, photography, music, sports, volunteering? If you don’t have money for lessons, find an adult you know well that can mentor them in their hobby. Help them develop their gifts and explore the world around them.
* Help them succeed in school to the best of their ability. Do not expect perfection, but give them the tools necessary to do their best. Do they need special tutoring? Do they need some one-on-one help from you at home? Ask them, “What can I do to help you?”
* Teach them life skills. Prepare them for the time when they are on their own by teaching them to cook, do laundry, clean house and grocery shop. Cook dinner together one night a week. Have them help you prepare a budget for the month or six months. Teach them how to keep a checking account and pay bills. Their future spouse will thank you.
* Help them learn social skills. Practice how to introduce yourself to someone new. Teach them how to have a give and take conversation. Model great social skills to them. Teach them to ask some basic questions when they meet someone new to break the ice.
* Help them build good friendships. Let your house be the place the kids all want to come to hang out. Be welcoming. Having your teen and their friends at your house means you get to monitor what goes on and who they hang out with. Get them involved with a club or church youth group. Help them come up with fun activities to keep them busy and out of trouble.
* Give them experiences, not things. Take them on a ferry ride. Go to the ballet, the symphony, the theater. Take a group to the art museum or the science center and talk about what you see. Experiences don’t have to cost a lot of money. Take them on a hike or a picnic at the beach. Get out of the house and teach them to enjoy life and all it has to offer.
* Help them develop a sense of humor. Have a family joke night. Go to a comedy club. Laugh at your own mistakes and teach them that a mistake or failure is not the end of the world. Help them learn to laugh at themselves. Help them find joy in life.
* Spend time with your teen. The teen years are when they pull away and start to become more independent. Don’t take this to mean that they don’t need your love and encouragement. They need it even more now!
* Teach them how valuable they are to God. Remind them that God has a special plan for their life. He made them unique and different than anyone else for a reason. God’s love is unconditional and He will never reject them.
* Listen more than you talk. Be available. Let your teen know that they can come to you at any time with any problem. Be empathetic. Don’t be afraid to talk about tough subjects. If you don’t talk to them about sensitive topics like sex, they will be talking to their teen friends about it. Wouldn’t you rather they get the information they need from you?
I hope these tips help and encourage you. Stay tuned for Part 2 of Tips for Parents of Teens.
What tips can you share about parenting your teen?