The biggest challenge when parenting a teenager is how to get your teen to listen to you and your advice. You want to protect your teen from bad decisions and choices. Your teen knows it all and does not listen to you.
Between the ages of 13 and 18, your teenager will transform from a child that followed your lead and had everything done for him to a young adult that makes choices and decisions.
Where is your teenager today, and where do you want her to be when she graduates high school? Think for a minute about this tremendous change. Reflect on all the various areas in which she will have to gain experience, and the decisions that she will have to learn to make.
Your son or daughter will have to learn everything from washing clothes to earning a living to handling personal relationships. They will have to decide if they will go to college, what their field of study will be, what profession they want to pursue, and which college to go to.
They will get a driver’s license, and will start going their own way instead of going along with the rest of the family.
During these five years you have the unique opportunity to give your teenager more and more responsibility and allow him to make more and more decisions. He will grow more independent with each day.
As long as he is still living with you, you will be there for him if he fails or makes a wrong choice. Be careful not to underestimate your teenager. At the same time, don't ask too much of him too soon, thus discouraging him from making decisions.
Give him enough space to develop, while standing by to help.
The following strategy can be applied to many situations. It will boost your teen's self confidence and establish your credibility. Your teen will be more likely to come to you for advice the next time.
My younger daughter, then 14, switched cell-phones, and needed assistance with reprogramming her phone. Instead of taking her phone and calling the provider, I gave her the number and told her to call herself.
To ease some of her nervousness I explained the process to her, that she would have to go through several choices on the menu, to have all parts ready, and that she will be asked some security questions. I told her to call me once she got to that point. I would be close enough to hear her calling if she needed me.
After she had wiggled her way through the menus she did call me for the answers to the security questions. Once they were answered, I left.
A few minutes later, when she walked by me, I asked her “How did it go?” Proudly she answered, “I am all set.”
Successfully completing small tasks like these raise your teens self confidence, make him less prone to peer pressure, and increase your teen's trust in you and your advice and support.
Christina Botto has been involved with helping parents and teenagers resolve complicated issues for more than 14 years, observing and developing parenting strategies. Her dedication to helping parents inspired her to write her book, ‘Help Me With My Teenager! A Step-by-step Guide for Parents that Works.’ Parenting Guide
Christina continues to help parents and their teens through her web site www.parentingateenager.net, where parents can find her book, news for Education K-12 and College, and a variety of tools and resources for both communicating with their teen and helping parents deal with issues they are struggling with.
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