Parenting a Teenager to Respect You and Like Himself

Parenting a Teenager ...

... can be a delightful and rewarding journey. As the mother of two teenage boys, I am blessed to have a close, loving relationship with my boys that is based on love and mutual respect. Of course, I am the first to admit that creating relationships like this takes work. Following are some parenting tips that will help you create a better relationship with your teen. (Publisher's Note: this advice applies to teen's with normal adolescent struggles. If your teen is constantly angry, oppositional or defiant, then read my review of a program you can use at home to help your teen teen around his behavior.)

Parenting a Teenager Advice

  • Give your teen the freedom to make some of his own decisions and mistakes. I firmly believe that parenting is about helping your child develop and refine his ability to make increasingly complex decisions while he is still under your protective wing (see my parenting book, Keepers of the Children). If you operate from the premise of authoritarian parenting and are always telling your son or daughter what to do, while fully expecting them to follow your commands without exception, how do you expect your teen to learn to think for himself or make decisions when you're not around? Raising your kids in this way is setup. It makes teens dependent upon you and fails to teach them that they can rely upon themselves. It gives them an outer, rather than an inner focus.

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  • Parenting teens means teaching them how to drive responsibly and courteously. Parents do this by modeling responsible driving behavior themselves. This is done with "do as I do" behavior. Since teens are inexperienced and more prone to accidents than any other age group, do not text or talk while driving because this shows them that is okay. A new program that automatically disables a teen's phone while driving can prevent your teen from getting into a serious accident. Since using the phone while driving distracts attention in such a way that is equivalent to smoking marijuana and then getting behind the wheel, taking this step is essential to the safety of your teen, especially during the first few years of driving solo.

  • Parenting a teenager requires that you teach him how to manage money. Teach by doing ... by managing your finances properly. Since so many people in the world are in over their head in debt, I recommend that you get your teen a credit card, so you can teach him how credit cards work, so this doesn't become an issue later on. The credit card company below allows you to assign a limit to the card and transfer money to the card based on the work your teen does around the house. It's a great way to foster a positive relationship with money and credit.

  • Help your child discover his strengths as he's growing up. This is the premise of my work and the foundation for the close relationship that I enjoy with both my teens. Rather than shaping them into this or that, I'm helping them discover who they are by guiding them to unfold their burgeoning strengths and talents. Parenting a teenager in this way creates mutual respect between parent and child because the teen realizes that you're guiding him to discover who he is, rather than trying to mold him to fit your unfilled dreams, ego needs or expectations. Learning how to do this is an art which is fine-tuned over time, but you can learn the basic ideas by reading my book or enrolling in my next parenting class. (If you have a teen who is headed in the wrong direction, I am available as a parenting coach via telephone.)

  • Parenting a teenager requires that you support your child, without enabling him. So many parents overindulge or make excuses for their teens because they are afraid of exposing their vulnerabilities or destroying their relationship, but when you can't be honest with someone who is subtly doing themselves in, then what kind of relationship do you have?

    While it is true that the teen psyche can be quite fragile (although it often appears otherwise), point out the areas in which your child needs improvement with a kind and loving hand. For instance, the other day, my son was late to school because he couldn't get the printer to print out a report that was due that morning. He was trying to print the report at the last possible minute. I asked him if he thought it would have been smart to print the report the night before and he got angry at me (because he was really angry with himself). My response to his anger: "I'm trying to teach you what you need to work on, so you can make it n this world. Waiting until the last minute is a pattern you need to break because it doesn't serve you. Would you rather learn this lesson from me—the person who loves you and has your best interests at heart—or would you rather learn this from the authorities out there who may not be so kind, forgiving or gentle?" Although he really didn't want to hear what I had to say, he acknowledged the truth of it. We both know that being prepared is something he needs to work on. (If you want to learn how to interact with your teen like this, consider my parenting coach program or take my next parenting class.)

While parenting a teenager is not easy and will challenge you at every turn, it can be a fulfilling journey. Rather than letting your family succumb to the myth that adolescence is the time when parent-child relationships fall apart, it is full of opportunities and experiences that can bring you closer.

About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book Keepers of the Children which uses ideas from the native culture and developmental psychology to help parents raise children to progressively become aware of who they are and what their strengths are so their lives will be an expression of integrity and strength.

Parenting a Teenager - Teen Parenting


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