Being a parent is one of the most amazing, fulfilling, yet thankless jobs in the world. Moreover, from the time that your child comes into your life, they are constantly throwing you curveballs, which, in turn, sees you facing changes upon you.
Once your child reaches their teenage years, it seems like all bets are off in regards to the parenting things you thought you had under control. Teenagers go through so many changes that it can be hard for you as a parent to keep up with the right balance between discipline, guidance, and understanding.
If your child is in or approaching those teenage years and you aren’t sure about what your role as their parent should look like, here are three tips to help you to be the parent that your child needs at this time in his or her life.
1. Understand the Challenges
It is important that you take the time to better understand what your teen is up against so that you can help to guide them along. Remember that some of the things they will or are facing might be more serious than you imagined.
In such cases, there is nothing wrong with seeking out reliable help from trusted sources. Some teens might simply benefit from seeing a qualified counselor in certain situations, while others might need the help of a teen rehab center. As a parent, the best thing you can do is understand their struggles to the best of your ability so that you can figure out how to best help them through those struggles.
2. Don’t Assume You Know It All
One of the biggest mistakes that a parent can make is assuming that they know already exactly what their teen is going through. It is easy to judge outbursts and poor behavior as “phases” that your teenager is going through, but this mentality might cause you to severely downplay the things they are going through.
You might recall moments from your own teenage years when you felt that your parents just didn’t “get it.” That’s because, in many ways, they didn’t. The challenges that the world presented to the teenagers of your generation were vastly different from the challenges that your parents faced as teenagers. The same rules apply to your own child at this point in time. They are going to be up against things that you, as a teenager, didn’t have to worry about.
3. Keep Communication Open
Communicating with your teen can be difficult at times. However, the only way to truly help them through any struggles they are facing is to have the lines of communication open at all times. They need to know that you are there for them whenever they need to talk, and you should be ready to listen when those moments arise. Communication doesn’t come easily for some teens, so try your best to help them to understand the importance of coming to you whenever they need guidance.