Having a child and bringing life into this world can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. Becoming a parent and helping to raise someone will not only give you a sense of satisfaction, but can also be an opportunity for you to learn and grow as an individual.
However, while many parents will look forward to this journey when they are toddlers, the same cannot be said during the teenage years. Generally speaking, many parents are not well-prepared for dealing with those tough years where kids no longer listen to you in the same way they did when they were little children.
Once a child reaches adolescence, they begin to question their parents and think for themselves. This is the stage of their development where they want to begin making their own choices and you are no longer their parent but more of a guide helping them along their life journey. During this phase, it is important to keep these two things in mind:
- Structure & Discipline
“While your child may want to stand on their own two feet, do their own thing, and start making their own decisions, it is important that they still have a clear set of boundaries and that they are given structure and discipline” says Sam Miller, a teenage counselor.
When your teen reaches this stage of their life, they are going to want to test their boundaries and see what they can and cannot get away with. And while it is important for you to give your child some space so they can explore these things, it is important to remember that they are still at an age where they do not truly know what is best for them and that you may have to step in with some tough love.
“I always tell parents that when your child becomes a teenager, you may not be their best friend and that’s okay. You need to focus on being a strong role model and giving them the structure and discipline they need that will help shape them for the rest of their life. You can be their friend once they are grown up, but right now, they need you to be their parent.”
- Health Habits
One of the most important things to instill into your child is going to be a set of healthy habits. From simple things to brushing their teeth and doing their homework to more complex things like projects around the home and healthy eating, this is the stage of their life where having good habits will play a critical role in their well-being as they mature.
Many adults who struggle in life with their career, finances, health, relationships, and so on do so because they never learned how to create a set of healthy habits. Because of this, over time, their life enters into a downward spiral where they find themselves unhappy, depressed, and struggling to get by. To ensure your child does not struggle with these issues, take the time necessary to instill good habits that will serve them for the rest of their lives.