Parenting is one of the hardest jobs you may ever have. Every time you think you have it down, your kids reach a new age that comes with its own set of complications. From changing diapers to teaching them how to drive, there are a lot of different situations you’ll encounter while trying to raise your kids to be kind, compassionate, confident adults. For many parents, the teenage years can come with a unique set of challenges.
Remember when you were a teenager? You were absolutely convinced that you knew everything and the world revolved around you, right? Now it’s your turn to deal with teenagers that think the same exact thing. These young adults are living in their own world and have issues and experiences that are completely unique and important to them. As a parent, it’s your job to help support them in whatever way you can, no matter how challenging that can be at times. Here are some strategies to help you navigate the teen years.
Find a school your kids actually enjoy.
Young people and adolescents spend a huge portion of their life in school. Therefore, the academic experience can really shape their mood and mental health. Make sure you can find the best option for your children to actually enjoy their school experience and have access to the courses they need. Sometimes this may involve private school options.
For example, if you live in New York City, there are so many options for school for your kids. Consider starting them off at the MUSE academy when they are young, so they are set up for success as teenagers. Getting immersive experiences in music, science, and language arts as a kid will help your kids develop into inquisitive teenagers and lifelong learners along the way.
Seek mental health counseling and services if needed.
Young people can often feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. If you are dealing with serious behavioral issues or mental illness concerns at home, it may be time to look into mental health services and treatment plans for your teenagers. Whether your child is dealing with anxiety, depression, suicide ideation, bipolar disorder, or general stress, they may benefit from individual or group therapy.
At mental health facilities for teens, expert therapists will help your kids take the first step to handle their mental health care. Therapy plans can help bring peace and healing to your teenagers who are dealing with big, complicated emotions for their adolescent ages. See if a treatment program is right for your teenager’s mental health care.
Invest in your child’s hobbies and their overall world.
When your kids reach the teenage years, it may seem like they want absolutely nothing to do with you. You’re the lame adult and they’re the cool teenager. One way to get through this scenario and continue connecting with your children is to really invest in their world.
Get to know their hobbies and interests. Meet their friends and ask about their lives. Stay in the know on all the drama, even when it seems silly to you. Taking these extra steps will help your kid see you as an active, important part of their life beyond just being the nagging parent they don’t want around.
Be present and available when they need you.
Sometimes the best way to parent is to simply be present. Let your teenagers know that they can come to you with anything. Whether it’s looking for their sneakers and a running track repair guide to get ready for the track season or listening to the drama they’re dealing with in their friend group, being there goes a long way. You want to be a shoulder to cry on, a source of wisdom, and an overall supportive parent. This is a great way to maintain a great relationship with your teens.
Establish set times for the family.
It’s no secret that teenager’s lives can get busy. Between school, extracurricular activities, and a social life, these kids are constantly running around to different commitments. One way to help you navigate these busy years is to establish set family time. Regular family dinners are a simple way to reconnect and enjoy time as a family. Taking these simple steps will help you stay connected overall.
Treat your teens with respect.
When you’re well into adulthood, it can be easy to look at teenage angst or anxieties and not think they’re really worth all the fuss. It’s also easy to bulldoze over your kids and demand they listen to you when you aren’t respecting them in the first place. It’s important to build a strong level of trust with your teenagers that is build on mutual respect.
Understand their unique experiences and respect what they are going through. Allow them to make big decisions while you guide them in the right direction rather than demand something. This will help you create a better relationship.