The top priority for every parent/caregiver should be their child’s well-being. Being an active and involved parent of a teen can be a rewarding venture as adolescent moves to adulthood. One of the least complicated ways to ensure your child is thriving is by maintaining healthy interaction with her/him.
Human developmentalists and adolescent counselors find that parents/caregivers reduce their risks for behavior difficulties when they spend meaningful time with their young person. Their findings suggest the following:
• Be their guide. These specialists have determined too many parents/caregivers either allow their teen no freedom to make important decisions (authoritarians) or permit them limited less opportunities to make critical decisions (permissiveness) without adult intervention. Teen consistently inform adults who will listen that they desire their presence to answer their questions as well as their experience about life even when it appears they are rebelling. In more instances than not, it is the parent’s/caregiver’s approach that they rebel against. If you are not there, they will find it elsewhere.
• Maintain contact with your teen. Do not just communicate with a teen but interact with them. Communication is one way. Interaction is two ways. Listen to what they a young person has to say. The two of you may not always agree but your teen will come to recognize you are willing to listen. To do this requires setting times aside and utilizing teachable moments (i.e. lunch with dad/mom; shopping at the mall; walks and so forth). Such activity is recommended at least once a week or more, if possible.
• Know who they associate with (their friends). Make your home a friendly home that your daughter or son and their friends enjoy coming to.
• Determine their healthy interest(s) then encourage her/him to pursue it or them. Teen interests may involve sports, music, science and the like.
• Expect bumps in the road. Errors in judgment should be identified and discussed. If limits are necessary, the teen needs to know why limits/boundaries/discipline are being set. Parents/caregivers do their teen no favor by letting them off. If an adult does this, a similar or more serious infraction is very likely to occur. Any limits set should fit the infraction. Major infractions involving societal law, law enforcement and the courts must relay to the young person that while the parent/caregiver unconditionally love them, serious infraction involve serious consequences and perhaps penalties (i.e. speeding tickets; shoplifting; physical injuring of another or causing one’s death). Such infractions may involve losses of privileges perhaps a loss of freedom.