We all want to do our very best as parents. We want to look after our children, we want to raise them to be kind, happy and independent. However, there is no doubt that navigating parenthood through the teenage years can be challenging for many of us. That is why today we want to share with you a few suggestions around how to support your teen.
Our teens are growing up in a world that is likely to be very different from the one that we grew up in. As such, it makes sense to educate yourself so that you can better understand the difficulties that they might be facing.
They are constantly ‘on’ as they are connected to one another, the internet and social media twenty-four seven. If they don’t Instagram it, did it even happen? They have very little downtime and it can be easy to get caught up with FOMO. They are likely to have their phones in their hands most of the time and dating seems to be all online.
Along with the challenges and concerns that the internet can bring, there will be new health concerns. For example, it is worth looking into vaping-related injury awareness and educating yourself on the latest drugs and forms of contraceptives that are available to them. We are not saying that all teens will need this level of knowledge from you, but you will be better prepared if you understand their world.
Keep the lines of communication open
The very best way to support your teen is to keep the lines of communication open at all times. We know that our children often become more private during their teen years, and we should respect that, but ensure that they know that you are always there if they want to talk about anything.
Communicating openly and honestly is something that you can start with your children from a young age, and that should help you yo keep it going through their teen years.
If your teen struggles to open up to you face to face, they might respond well to the suggestion of journaling together. They can write their own feelings, worries, and concerns down for you to read as they might find that to be an easier way for them to express themselves. They might then want you to write back, or they might be happy for you to bring it up with them in person from that point.
Do your best not to judge them or impress your opinions on them too forcefully. They are individuals and are seeking your guidance, not your censure. If you judge harshly, they are unlikely to bring their worries to you in the future for fear of any repercussions.
Let them know that you love them
Can there be anything easier to do than this? Yet it is probably the most powerful thing that you can do to support your teen.
At a time in their lives when they are likely to be the most insecure, knowing that you love them unconditionally will give them a sense of security.
Do not assume that they know you love them, tell them and show them every single day.