There is no simple way to raise a teenager appropriately. In fact, in order to do so, parents need a lot of patience, time, and determination on their side. As your teen begins to earn more freedom and develop their own sense of self, it will become extremely important that you instill in them the proper ways to handle various situations in life. The adolescent years are amongst the most important years, as this is the foundation for them becoming adults. If you’ve found that you need some guidance on how to best support your child in doing the right thing, consider some of these ideas listed below.
Rules need to change as children get older. It will be extremely important that you set boundaries for your teen. Without any form of boundaries, they will aimlessly go throughout life handling matters as they see fit. Boundaries allow them to learn responsibility, morals, values, and the importance of following instructions. The hard part in setting boundaries is knowing what too much restriction is. Too much freedom and/or too much restriction could result in rebellion, so make sure that the rules you have in place are well-balanced.
Allow Freedom (Reward Them for Good Behavior)
You will never know if your rules work if you never allow your teen to go out and experience life. It is important that you allow your teen to feel some form of freedom in order to keep the lines of communication open. Once a teen feels trapped or like they can’t go to their parents about certain issues, it can become harder to teach responsibility. The things you allow your teen to do for fun can go hand and hand with setting boundaries. By rewarding them for following the rules with a movie night with their friends, they are more likely to do the right thing.
Provide Discipline (Punish for Negative Behavior)
You cannot be with your teen every second of every day. Therefore, you’re going to have to trust that they understand your boundaries and that they are going to do the right thing. The moment that you find out that they have done something wrong, you need to nip it in the bud with restriction. This could mean no afterschool activities, no fun during the weekend, or no technology for a week. Whatever the consequence is should fit the behavior.
While these three things will help you in guiding your teen down the right path, it is important as a parent to trust them. If you start off not trusting your teen, it will become very difficult to communicate and teach them the right way in the future. Trust, communication, and structure are certainly the tools to helping your teenager develop into a responsible adult.