Raising a teenager is not an easy endeavor, you are not the first nor the last parent to tackle this awkward age, although it can get overwhelming at times, it too shall pass. It is important to keep in mind that teenagers are battling their own battles both on the inside and on the outside. Raging hormones, unfamiliar sensations and feelings are just the part of the issue, add to that awkward social interaction, trying to find you place in the school hierarchy and doing all that while being very self conscious. It's not fun at all.
As a parent you can do a lot to help you kid stay on track during this tumultuous period of their life. Just make sure that the manner in which you provide help and advice is the one most suited for your child, otherwise it might all fall on deaf ears. This article will help you navigate the treacherous waters of helping your teen stay on track while still providing them space to grow as individuals.
Stay on top of school obligations
For most parents this involves constantly asking questions regarding studying and homework, usually as soon as the child comes in through the front door. Now there are better and more effective ways to deal with this, since in most cases the answer to those questions is very rude or grumpy. First of all, familiarize yourself with your child's curriculum, so that you can see the extent of work that needs to be done. Than you can organize a weekly meeting, to go over all the problem areas, sit with your teen, let them explain to you the difficulties they are facing regarding the studying process.
Special consideration should be given during the last year of high school, when most teens in England are preparing for their GCSE's and in Australia are preparing for the finals. You should make sure your child has access to the right tutors, necessary learning materials and useful VCE study notes or GCSE notes. This is crucial for their success. Be there with them every step of the way, helping them tackle this great obstacle.
Provide emotional support without being a busybody
There is a thin line between wanting to protect you teen and prying too much into their life, you should walk it carefully. Be prepared for the famous three words - You don't understand - yes to them it might really seem that their parents have no idea what they are going through. So instead of interrogating, and trying to dig up what is it that's bothering your child, try to be the first to open up. Tell them an embarrassing story from your teenage years, convey the emotions you went through, and you will see them get more comfortable and willing to share.
At any cost try to avoid stressing that you know what's best for them, since it never has the right effect. Instead provide them with an explanation for any decision you make regarding their life under your roof. Most importantly incite communication daily, that is the best way to see whether your teen is doing well both academically and socially.
Lead by example
This might be the most important piece of parenting advice we can give you. If you want your teen to stay on track, you need to show them how. For example, you can't forbid them smoking if you smoke, or make them eat healthy while you walk around with a bag of chips. The same rules need to apply for both parents and teens when it comes to lifestyle choices.
This might sound hard, and you won't always like it, but it can have a great positive effect on your teen, they can relate, and take those positive behaviour patterns from home to school.
This parenting method is especially important for emotional growth of your kids. You need to be careful and try not to transfer your personal insecurities onto your teen, whether it's related to body shaming or lack of self respect. Make sure you become the best role model you can be for your teenager.
In the end we can just tell you to arm yourself with patients and nerves of steel, you are in for a bumpy ride, nevertheless, you are bound to remember this period as one of the most beautiful in your child's life. They do grow up so quickly.