I am a mother to teens, tweens, and preschoolers. I have good children, but let’s be real, they are still children. I am always appreciative though when I get compliments specifically on my teenagers, and I love even more when my teens hear those compliments for themselves. Because sometimes teenagers tend to get a bad rap. That’s nothing new, but I think teens are pretty fantastic. As far as parenting stages go, the teen years can be a lot of fun and shouldn’t be something to fear. There are definitely some tricky situations to navigate in your role as a parent, and sometimes we might tend to pull away a bit as our teens independence begins to emerge full throttle, but here is the truth. Your teen still needs you. Oh, how they need you. Almost more so than the very physical needs that they had as infants and young children. So today I would like to share 5 things that, in my experience, I have found your teen needs from you and why.
They Need You To Set Boundaries And Guidelines For Them.
Saying this will get an eye roll from most teens, but they need you to set boundaries. They need you to tell them it’s time to turn off the phone, or no they cannot go with Katie alone to that concert 2 hours away, or that there are firm guidelines for their return home each and every night. Teens need this because they are still learning how to navigate the world, and you as their parent have had much more experience in this world and are able to help them with that process. Also, to a teen caught in an uncomfortable situation that they are unprepared for, being able to blame their mom and dad for why they need to bow out is a pretty efficient system.
I am not militant in my rules, but we do have them. I also make sure to reward my teens when I see that they are willing to follow our family rules, because trust is a two way street.
Your teen may not be grateful in the here and now, but someday when they are parents setting boundaries for their own teens, all of the cogs will fall into place. It did for me, and they will be grateful you set those boundaries.
They Need To Hear You Say I Love You.
On average, I tell all of my children about 5 million times a day I love them. For my teenagers I send it in texts, emails and even say it to my children when their friends are around. The horror! But here is the deal, my kids know I love them and that I have their backs no matter what may happen. Your teen will have lots and lots of friends, but they only have a handful of people, like you who will love them unconditionally. Knowing that matters.
They Need Your Praise.
High school and middle school is a rough time. Even if your children don’t attend school with others their age, navigating social interactions with peers is tricky, because not all of those interactions are incredibly uplifting and inspiring. Your teen needs to hear your praise, and I am not talking about petty inconsequential praise like, “Oh you are so pretty!” They need to hear that you are proud of them, that you know they are going through tough situations, but you are proud of their strength of character and so forth. This is vital folks, your teens still may seem less than receptive when you say things like this, but don’t stop doing it. They need to hear it, and I promise you they are listening.
Your Teen Needs Some Social Media Training
Our world is such that today, a phone or other technological device can be almost as deadly as a gun. A simple post that a teen deemed harmless can be so very damaging and have lasting repercussions for years to come. My children have the understanding that I will follow them on all of their social media channels, but just following kids isn’t enough anymore. Here are some tips for keeping your kid safe out there. If you haven’t had this talk with your teen yet, please, I urge you, don’t delay. Do it now.
Your Teen Needs Open Communication
My kids know the door is always open to talk about anything and everything. No joke. I am a pretty conservative person, but your eyes might just roll back into your head if you heard about some of the things my teens and I have talked about. The thing is I want my kids to ALWAYS feel comfortable to come and talk to me. No matter what it is. Because I want my teens to avoid decisions made from fear or with inadequate information. Sure, today’s teens are pretty internet savvy, but there are so many voices out there vying for their attention that making decisions can get so complicated. With the understanding that my proverbial “door” for communication with them is never shut, and that I will listen and love them no matter what I hope to help them find and seek out those things which help them to live the life that brings them the most real and lasting happiness.
If you are a parent to a teen I would love to hear some of the things you do, because it takes a village and all.
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