How To Make Adolescence Meaningful For Your Kids
Parenting teens can be quite the challenge. However, this life stage is often also a challenge for teens themselves. The teen and adolescent years are a time of major growth, emotionally, intellectually and physically. During the period of adolescence, your teen will be developing knowledge, gaining an understanding of relationships and emotions and how to manage them and acquiring all kinds of new skills. Depending on the support they receive, this life stage can make or break your kids’ futures. Ensuring that your kids receive a meaningful adolescence will define your teenager’s transition from childhood to adulthood and is paramount to their future development.
We have spoken to parenting experts and compiled a list of tips to make your teenager’s adolescent years ones of confidence, enjoyment and full parental support!
Encourage open communication
Our first tip to ensure a healthy, meaningful and supportive adolescence is to make sure that you are open with your teens. Make it clear that they are free to tell you anything without being judged and that home is a safe space for them to share their feelings without hesitation. If you adopt the same approach, by sharing your thoughts and feelings without your teens, they will feel comfortable to share with you in return. The more you emphasise this message, the more they will internalise it and feel comfortable letting you in and sharing what they are experiencing during this challenging period of their lives.
Respect your teenager’s privacy
Though it’s important to know what is going on in the lives of your teens and that they feel comfortable sharing, especially during the period of adolescence, it’s also crucial to know when to draw the line. Unless you think that there is something going on in your teens’ lives that is vital to know, it’s important to remember that your teens deserve their privacy. Being curious as to what is happening in their lives is natural, but try not to be too inquisitive. Don’t ask too many questions and they won’t feel that they need to keep secrets. At the end of the day, it all comes down to trust. Their phone calls, texts and emails are their own personal business. If your teens see that you trust them and have confidence in their decisions, they are going to be more likely to share things with you.
Openly show your love
Don’t be hesitant to express your affection! Showing your teens love and positive attention is instrumental in the development of their confidence and sense of self-security. At this turbulent point of their lives, feeling that they are loved and supported is instrumental for the proper development of important skills, as well as their understanding of emotions and relationships. Spending time with your teenagers, actively listening to them and respecting their feelings is of utmost importance. Express to them how much you love them, even if it may embarrass them.
Balance family time and independence
One great way to spend time together with your teens is by having meals together as a family, as it is a practical and convenient way to ensure family bonding, where the entire family gets the opportunity to unwind and to catch up on all that has happened throughout the week. However, together with that, it’s important to recognise that your teens also need to experience their own independence. Obviously pushing them to do things by themselves or make decisions by themselves when they are not ready to is not recommended, but if they show a desire to make their own choices, encourage it! For example, forcing them to attend every family gathering might not necessarily be the way to go. Ensure they feel included, without feeling forced. Instill within them the belief that they can make decisions confidently, knowing that they have your trust and that you have their back.
Be a good role model for your teens
Ultimately, your kids - no matter their age - will learn how to behave by watching their parents. If you set a positive example for your teens, your teens are likely to model your behaviour. Being aware of how you speak, act and behave around your teens is important, as this will impact the language and behaviour that they model in turn. Often, at this stage in life, teens prove to be more susceptible to negative influences, so it is important that you show them the proper way to conduct themselves by exhibiting this behaviour as parents.
Although adolescence can present many challenges, by following these tips, you’ll ensure that your teen experiences a healthy, supported and well-rounded adolescent period. If you have any ideas, comments, or thoughts to add, feel free to let us know below!