As your children grow and change, they go through many stages. Some are fun, such as learning to walk and talk, so are challenging, like tantrums. You have to grow, learn, and adapt as a parent along with your child.

Still, nothing prepares you for the tween and teen years. Parenting a teen is once of the hardest parts of being a parent. Navigating these years can seem like walking through a minefield, one minute everything is fine and the next there is a huge explosion.

If you have built a strong, open, honest relationship with your child already, you may fair better than some, but there are no guarantees.

Your child is becoming adult, and the process is complex and painful. Hormones, peer-pressure, sex, driving, jobs, friends. They will need your guidance and wisdom, but they often don’t want it. The best time to impart your thoughts and suggestions is during normal, calm conversation, not during a fight or tears. If they are upset, they will likely reject or tune out anything you have to say, even if it is useful and helpful. Make sure you spend time with your teen regularly, so there are opportunities to have honest open discussions when the need arises. One way to do this is to make sure you have dinner as a family regularly. This is easier to implement if you have been doing it all along.

Maybe you start a tradition of having date night with your teen, but not on Friday or Saturday, when they will want to be with their friends.

Find an activity you and your teen have in common – do you both play video games? Like to shop? Like to cook? If you have to, learn about something they are interested in. Having common ground can help keep the lines of communication open. Having a way to communicate will help you all get through the tough teen years.

 

 

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