Most parents associate adolescence with trouble-making and a bad attitude. While some of this may be the reality of parenting a teen, the truth is that there are ways to make the journey a little less bumpy for the two of you. As a parent, you are in control of and responsible for their development as they navigate young adulthood and become their own individuals. To help you along the way, here are five tips that will help you keep your teen out of trouble and on the right path.
1. Provide them with the professional support they need.
Adolescence is a period of growth and discovery, but it can also be one ripe with challenges. Teens are just beginning to figure out who they are, deal with peer pressure, and cope with difficult or confusing feelings they may have about themselves and others. Other teens may be dealing with serious problems at home or at school that can greatly impact their mental health. No matter what your teen may be going through, one way to provide them with the support they need is by enlisting the help of a mental health professional.
Therapy, specifically cognitive behavioral therapy, can help your teen to recognize negative thought patterns and limiting beliefs that they may be experiencing. It can also allow them to learn coping mechanisms and cultivate the awareness needed to overcome the challenges they may be facing. Beyond any specific problem they may encounter, going to therapy will allow them to vent any frustrations and learn skills that they can use whenever they find themselves overwhelmed. There are many types of therapy, so whatever your teen may need is out there. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about finding a therapist for your adolescent, if you don’t know if you should be finding a cbt therapist, a psychiatrist, or a psychotherapist, it’s all right. When you reach out to a reputable organization like the Therapy Group of NYC for help, they’ll work with you to find the best fit for your teen.
2. Help them get into extracurricular activities
Teens who have a substantial amount of free time and energy may not know what to do with themselves. As a result, they may turn to less desirable activities in order to fill this time. Rather than letting this be a potential development, be proactive and help your child find an extracurricular activity they can get into. For example, if your teen has expressed an interest in golf, sign them up for local organizations or their school team, help them get the necessary equipment by doing things like finding single length irons for sale, and getting them the training they need to truly enjoy their chosen activity. An extracurricular activity will provide them with the outlet they need to express themselves and get rid of some of their energy! Make sure they have the golf clubs they need to minimize strokes and maximize the fun they’ll be having as part of a team.
3. Maintain boundaries while allowing freedom.
Setting limits is a part of parenting. As a parent, you are the head of the household, and there are rules and expectations that you should have and enforce. However, some parents may be overprotective, preventing their teen from gaining some of their own independence and moving into young adulthood. Make sure to give your child the freedom and the trust they have earned but don’t let them set the rules or push boundaries that are not okay.
4. Communicate with your teen.
Maintaining your relationship with your teen is important. Even if they may not feel like doing it, most people grow up to realize that their relationship with their parents is what kept them grounded and helped them become the healthy, thriving adult that they are today. Schedule regular times to communicate with your child, learn more about their interests, and do things that you both enjoy doing. Though they won’t always admit it, they will enjoy this time as well.
5. Try to see their point of view.
In our society, we are often taught to fear negative emotions. Although you shouldn’t tolerate disrespect and rudeness, healthy arguments and debates are to be expected as your teen grows up. Use these opportunities to help your teen figure out why they are angry, understand their side of things, and then let them utilize their problem-solving skills to either negotiate, empathize, or understand why their way of seeing or doing things may not be the best. Parents who shut down their children and prevent them from expressing their point of view may be doing harm than good. This kind of closed-door policy may cause them to do what they want, since they don’t feel that they’re being heard.
Adolescence can be hard, but it doesn’t have to result in bad behavior and revolt. If you are a parent looking to make sure that your child makes smart, healthy choices, use the parenting advice above to steer your teens in the right direction.
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