Teenagers: 10 Things Every Parent Should Know
1. It’s not easy being a teenager. Teenagers want independence and to be treated like adults, but often lack the necessary maturity, which only comes through experience. They need some independence, coupled with guidance. Give them freedom of choice in matters that will help them mature, yet won’t seriously harm them or others when they make wrong choices.
2. Teens are in a process of continual change. Just as teens need lots of good food, lots of sleep, and lots of exercise to meet the needs of their growing bodies, they need lots of positive input to grow emotionally and intellectually.
3. Each teen is different and has individual needs. Most teenagers go through the same phases, but at different ages and with varying degrees of difficulty. Treat them as individuals.
4. Upbeat is better. If you only talk to your teens when you need to reprimand them, they will avoid you. Establish positive communication when they are younger and keep it up as they get older, and they will be more likely to receive direction from you during the tough teen years.
5. Teens are learning the balance between fun and responsibility. Help your teens grow into adulthood by teaching them to put responsibility before having fun, and reward them with fun activities when they do.
6. Teens need clearly defined limits. Teens often test the limits set for them to see how much they can get away with. Discuss the rules together, agree if you can, and then enforce them lovingly but firmly.
7. Teens need space. In their attempt to establish their own identity, it is normal for teenagers to distance themselves from their parents. Don’t take it personally. Let them flap their wings, within reasonable limits, but make sure they know you’re always there for them.
8. Teens need to feel fulfilled. Help your teens set goals for themselves that are worthwhile, challenging, and attainable, and then help them achieve their goals.
9. Peer pressure is strongest in the teen years. Your teens’ friends are going to have influence for good or bad, so get to know them and try to bring out the best in them.
10. Teens need to feel understood. You may not understand them any better than they understand themselves, but Jesus does. Hearing them out and then taking their problems to the Lord together will go a lot further than you trying to supply them with all the answers yourself.
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