Your Guide to Parenting a Teenager

Most parenting guidebooks centre on newborns and children; very rarely do they offer advice on parenting teens. However, teens are just as difficult as babies, maybe even more so because their needs are more difficult to ascertain. Parenting your teens doesn’t have to be a minefield. Read on for your guide to dealing with your wilful mini-adults.

Talk to Them

This may seem obvious, but a lot of parents put off talking to their teens about more adult issues which can lead to trouble. Talk to them about puberty and sex – it doesn’t have to be graphic; you don’t need to overload them with information. It is all about educating them. You know your children and what is appropriate for them.

For example, if you think they are thinking about having sex, talk to them about practising safe sex and consent. There are many options and resources online today; you can even buy contraception online to spare their blushes at your local GP. Virtually Healthcare is an NHS run business, they are fully accredited, and they connect patients with NHS clinicians to ensure that they receive the right care.

Respect Their Privacy

Some parents struggle with this one. Some teens tend to shut down a little and stop talking to their parents. This then makes some people feel like they have no choice but to spy on them. Try to avoid this; the trust that you have with your children is important. Don’t snoop on them. There are a lot of other ways that you can connect with them without invading their privacy. Try to practice empathy, put yourself in their shoes; you wouldn’t want to be spied on, would you?

Enforce Appropriate Rules

You cannot let your teens run rampant, but you also cannot treat them in the same way you did when they were children. If you communicate your expectations and enforce appropriate rules to ensure that your teen meets them, then most of the time, they will try to do so. Reward your teen for meeting their rules. For example, if they never miss their curfew, then consider extending it on occasion. Or if they consistently do well in school, then treat them to something they have been wanting for a while. Recognising their efforts is important; it shows them that you appreciate it, and by rewarding it, you encourage this good behaviour to continue.

Does it Ever End?

As a child progresses through their teen years towards adulthood, there will be a lot of highs and lows. It can feel like a bit of a power struggle as they yearn for more independence, and you try to stifle it in order to keep them safe. Instead, try to remember how you felt as a teen; your child is probably experiencing a lot of those same feelings except with the added pressure of social media, which certainly doesn’t help matters. Eventually, though, they will come through the other side and emerge into adulthood as responsible, independent individuals. It might take a few years, but there is light at the end of the tunnel!

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