Raising a teen can be difficult. You probably sometimes feel like you don’t have much influence on them, but if your communication is good, I promise you they’ll value your opinions more than anyone else’s.
Therefore, I prepared 8 parenting strategies to help you stay gentle during the teen years. Let’s start.
1) Be a parent and a friend
The most important thing is to make sure your kids know you are their best friend. A person who loves them the most in this world and who will always want what’s best for them.
If you’re afraid that they won’t respect you if they see you as a friend, you’re very wrong. Make sure you offer your teen respect, love, and genuineness, and you’ll receive even more in return.
Of course, you will still guide them, and say no from time to time. But if you want to stay gentle during the teen years, you’ll have to stop doing that too often. If you don’t, they’ll feel like you’re too bossy and they won’t think your relationship is good.
2) Spend time with your kids
You like to be together with your best friends, right? So, make sure you always have enough time for your kids.
If they feel like you’re always busy, tired, or angry, they will look for other friends who will be there for them. Your kids are the ones you care about the most, so make sure they know that too.
If you got angry at work, don’t take it out on your children. Instead, talk to them and find relief that way.
Or you’re too busy lately, and you just couldn’t spend enough time at home? Then suggest going on a small trip the next weekend. Pick their favorite place and make up for the lost time.
3) Eat together
To make sure you’ll always spend at least some time together, you can find one activity you’ll practice daily. And my suggestion for you is to eat together.
Decide what works best for you. If all of you wake up at the same time you can have breakfast together. Maybe even get up a bit earlier and make it together. Let everybody have their own little morning task.
If you’re all at home for lunchtime, choose that option. Or it’s the most convenient to wait for dinner and gather around the family table.
That way you can talk about the day, your plans for tomorrow, and maybe even play a board game after you eat.
4) Show interest in what they like
Staying gentle during their teen years means respecting the things your kids like. So, you should definitely show some interest in those things.
If they enjoy watching a certain TV show, or they have a habit of watching movies every week, suggest that you do that together. Find a day in the week that could be your “movie night”, prepare some snacks and enjoy your time together.
If they like books, you can let them retell the best parts, or you can even read the same book and have a discussion. When it comes to sports, you can watch or play them together.
Remember that your teens will always remember whatever you do for them. So make sure to make many nice memories.
5) Encourage good self-care
As their best friend, it’s your job to point out what are some things that are good and bad for their health.
You must encourage good self-care. Make sure they get at least 8 hours of good sleep and tell them that scrolling through their phone at 3 AM is definitely not helpful.
Explain why eating healthy is crucial at their age, but also let them have a snack from time to time. Encourage doing different sports and exercising regularly.
Pay attention to their mental health. Nowadays, more and more teens struggle with depression and anxiety, so make sure you always know what’s going on in their lives.
6) Keep the standards high
Teenagers usually have high standards. They are easily motivated, but it’s sometimes difficult to remain that way. It’s your job to be there and encourage them to achieve their goals.
It’s important that those are their goals and wishes, and not the ones that you’ve set for them. They will always be more motivated and excited to do what they want to.
During their teen years, it’s crucial that you stay gentle when you’re trying to explain why keeping high standards is the right thing to do. Don’t put too much pressure on them, it will be too overwhelming.
7) Try the indirect approach
When they were younger it was much easier to ask them questions. They even adored talking about their day. Now, when they’re a bit older questions like “How was school?”, “What grade did you get today?”, “How was the text?” annoy them.
They can even start a small argument if your teenager isn’t having a good day. So try the indirect approach. When you’re spending time together, don’t ask many questions. And if your kid sees you’re in a good mood, he/she will start talking about her day.
And make sure you listen carefully and give them advice, ask follow-up questions, etc.
8) Don’t be too judgemental
Staying gentle during their teen years, and being judgemental at the same time is not a possible combination. However, if you replace the second part with being understanding, you’ll be on the right track.
It’s very important to show your kids they can tell you everything and you’ll never judge them. Of course, you will point out the things that are bad for them, but that’s it. The times have changed since you were a teen, so there might be some stuff you’ll have difficulties understanding, but it’s important you try.
You can ask your children to explain them to you, that way you’ll show you’re interested in their lives, but you’ll also learn something new.
Try to remember your teenage years. Do you recon how everything seemed ten times more important than it should’ve been? That’s how life looks like for your kid at the moment. Be understanding, show them you love them, and try following the steps you’ve just read.
That’s how you’ll raise a great kid. Enjoy every day spent with your family, and make some great memories you’ll always remember!