As a parent, you are never quite prepared for what is to come—the teenage years!
I’d like to share some tips that I have instilled in myself and in my children that continue to get me through some battles, tears, anxiety, happiness and heated debates (in no particular order):
I can’t say this enough: Communication is so important. You may not always want to hear what is being said, but you need to listen and bite your tongue at times. The minute you fight back and go on the negative side, the minute that line of communication will close up. If you are asked your opinion, give it to your child; however, remain cool, calm and collected no matter what the topic of conversation is.
Unless an incident or conversation is life-threatening or harmful to your child or others, or has the potential to be, let him or her know that they can trust and confide in you. Prove to them that they can trust you, just like they need to prove to us that we can trust them. It works both ways.
If they come to you with confidential information and ask that you not share it with their brother, sister or even your significant other, then don’t. If you do choose to share the confidential information, eventually word will get out and the trust will be gone.
Our children need to be responsible for their own actions and make smart, reasonable decisions. As our kids mature, they will gain more responsibility, something they need to learn early in life rather than later.
Ensure that your child always, always respects themselves and others. Let them know to not put anyone down. There is no need to do that. Treat others as you would want others to treat you. Be nice, courteous and respectful!
Our rule of thumb has always been that when you commit to an activity, you stay with it until the very end whether you want to or not. Most times others are relying on you to be there, so don’t let them down and keep your word. Don’t be a quitter!
6. BEING POSITIVE
Looking at things in a positive manner brings energy and happiness. Why look at things negatively? Yes, things won’t always be perfect and happy, but look on the bright side—things could be worse. Negativity brings you down and others around you. Know that you can make the best of yourself with a little work, positive thinking and a good attitude.
7. BE A LEADER RATHER THAN A FOLLOWER
Make your own decisions based on your own good judgment, not the judgment of others. Be a leader and know that actions speak louder than words. Be a good role model.
8. CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY
Remember that you are judged by the friends you hold and by your actions. There is always someone watching. Don’t get caught up in cliques; be your own independent person.
To be funny, outgoing and carefree is great. No need to be uptight, stuck-up and thinking you’re too good. Know that you’re never too good. Everyone is different in their own ways, and everyone has feelings. Be supportive of your peers and show others your great character and be that leader. Have fun!
Set goals for yourself and strive to reach them. They don’t have to be big goals. Take little steps and once you reach one goal, adjust and make your next one a little bigger and so on. Don’t ever think that not reaching your goal means failure! Just stick with it and try again. Don’t give up! Work hard and you can achieve.
From time to time our children may take us on a bumpy ride, but as parents our job is to hold on, lead and make the best of it. Eventually that bumpy ride will settle down.