Teenagers all over the world will take the leap from child to young adult this fall. They will be entering High School for the first time. This milestone brings a variety of feelings and emotions. They are beginning four of the most difficult, yet most memorable years of their life. If you think you are anxious and scared, try being your teen.
Here are a few Parenting Teenager tips on how to make the best of this stressful and confusing time in your teenager’s life.
Be Open and Understanding
Realize that your teen is going to be stressed and irritable for the first few weeks of their freshman year. There are many things that can contribute to your teen’s moodiness or withdrawn state. They are experiencing numerous changes in their life; all at the same time. Just like when you are pushed to your max with stress, your teen may experience headaches, stomachaches, or sleepiness. They need time and space to figure it all out in their own mind. Be patient and give them the time they need to sort things out for themselves.
Be Available and Reassuring
They may be young adults with a need to start making more decisions on their own and taking on more responsibility, but that doesn’t mean that they are full blown adults with minds that can handle all the stress and pressure of taking on those tasks. Reassure them that you are there when they need you and also how to back off” when necessary so they can figure things out for themselves.
Your teenager is just that, a teen. You need to let them know that you trust them to make their own decisions. Let them know that you are always there should they get stuck and need a helping hand from someone they trust. Show them in ways other than saying things such as, I’m here if you want to talk.” It’s not always easy for a teenager to start up a serious conversation, especially with Mom or Dad. There are times when you need to get creative. Depending on your teen that may mean writing a letter or taking them shopping and talking about what’s going on in their life while driving.
Be Supportive and Loving
Your teenager is no longer the ‘big dog’, but instead a ‘newbie’. Teenagers need to know that Mom and/or Dad support their decisions. They may have a difficult time fitting in; therefore, the need to try new things is necessary and helps them to figure out who they are. As long as the activity is not detrimental to them or anyone else, let them try a new sport, club, or other extracurricular hobby.
Support them in their decision, even if you know in the long run they will not participate next year. Give them the opportunity to find out for themselves if they enjoy certain activities. Remind them that family is something that will always be there. They are moving away from you as a parent but not disconnecting with the family completely and that’s ok.
Set Routines and Limits
Yes, they may be growing up, but they aren’t adults yet. Even teenagers need routines and limits. It will help to make the transition to high school easier on both of you if make limits together before the first week of school. Sit down and tell your child what your expectations are and really listen to their expectations of you as well. Settle on certain guidelines and routines that make both of you happy with the end result. This not only puts your mind at ease, but will also show your teen that you acknowledge that they are capable of making sound decisions and taking other’s considerations into account.
Parenting Teenagers can be a trying time and high school can seem overwhelming for them. Share in the good times and be there to lean on for the bad. Before you know it, you’ll be catching that cap and tassel at your teen’s graduation.