Your parents have probably read plenty of lists about dealing with your troublesome teenager, written by high-ranking psychologists, child specialists, other parents, people who don’t have any kids but will talk about raising them anyway etc etc. Here is a list written from the perspective of a teenager herself. You might find this useful.
10- Don’t Snoop
As a parent, you need to be secure about the fact that you have raised your kid with the right values and Stop Snooping Around In Their Personal Matters. Period. Your teenagers are entitled to their privacy and your spying on them will only enrage them. You do not need to know exactly how your seventeen year old daughter spent her day or what your fifteen year old son is doing in his room with the door closed. Unless you suspect that they are on drugs or building bombs in their spare time, let them live in peace. Don’t go through their diaries and drawers in the hope of finding something incriminating. Your kids trust you and you need to return this trust. So don’t snoop around in their room, because if they find out, they will be angry. And angry with a good reason.
9- Stop Fighting
Ideological differences are bound to crop up when your kid turns a certain age. She might want to wear a mini skirt to a party and you might want her to go in jeans. He might want to stay out late and you might want him back by eight. Such differences with parents are a part and parcel of teenage-hood. As mature adults, it is your job as parents to understand that your teen is going through a tough phase in life. He or she is battling self esteem problems, expectations from elders and peer pressure. Give in to their demands sometimes and draw a line where you see fit. The important thing is that you reach a negotiation. Shouting and fighting with them will not resolve the problem. Try to talk the issue out reasonably and rationally. Agree upon the mini skirt if you know she is going to come back straight home after the party. Or compromise on a skirt of medium length. Try not to reject their demands outright unless they are extremely unreasonable.
8- Be Understanding
Your kids need you at this confusing time in their life. Teenage-hood can be scary. Instead of fighting with them, be there for your child. Most importantly, understand their point of view. We teenagers are at such a stage of life where we need to learn to start taking our own decisions. Be supportive of us. If you criticize every decision we take because you have stereotyped teenagers as head strong and foolish, you will dash our self confidence to the ground. Understand the reasons that lead them to take this decision and guide them gently if you think they are wrong.
7- Make Time
As working parents or over burdened homemakers, you might not have a lot of extra time on your hands. What your teenagers need above all is the assurance that you care for them. Show them that you do. Spend time with your children. Set aside an hour or two everyday where you talk to your child. Don’t pry, but get to know them. Teenage-hood is a time where most kids are going through friends trouble and boy trouble and girl trouble. They might prefer to spend time with their friends rather than their family. If that is the case, don’t take it as rejection and feel bad. It’s a passing phase with us. Set aside some time during the weekends as family time where the whole family does something together. Plan fun activities of the sort your teen will enjoy.( Don’t drag us to a cultural show against our wishes and force us to sit through boring recitals in the name of ‘family time.’ That’s just cruel)
6- Small Rebellions
If you let your teen rebel in small matters, chances are they will not rebel in bigger things. This is a secret my mother told me, and a method she applied on me. All teenagers want a ‘little’ bit of freedom. If your teen wants to wear black nail paint, what’s the harm? Don’t be a tyrant, let your teens breathe a little. If your kid wants a sip of beer in your presence, don’t make a big deal of it. If you treat it as something unattainable and ungodly, chances are that your teenager will go out of his or her way to taste it. Gulp it down, actually. And that won’t be in your presence. So use your discretion to see where you need to put a foot down and where you can allow your teen to rebel a little against authority.
5- Be Nice to their friends
Friends are a very very important part of every teenager’s life. Be a sport about his or her friends coming over and using your home as a hangout spot. If they create a mess, make your kid clean up. If they are too loud for your taste, ask them nicely to lower their volumes. Don’t embarrass your teens in front of their friends (although you might think that they get embarrassed by everything you do. It’s just a phase) Don’t call them by their nicknames and don’t try to hug and kiss them in front of their friends if they don’t like. It does not mean that your kid doesn’t love you anymore, it just means that he or she might not be very comfortable with outward shows of affection at this age.
4- Don’t compare
Our self esteem is already fragile. If you compare us to the prodigal genius kid next door who reads Chaucer, plays thirteen instruments, scores perfect marks and looks like a cross between Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston, you will end up shattering our self confidence. Leaving us with deep emotional scars on our psyche. Okay perhaps I’m being overly dramatic. My point is, not every kid is born with the IQ of Einstein, the voice of Lata Mangeshkar and the abilities of Michael Phelps. Keep your expectations at a healthy level. Most importantly, don’t compare your teenager to other teenagers. It makes us feel unworthy and inadequate, and those are two horrible feelings. We need encouragement and support. Give us that.
3- Deal with their anger
We are confused people! Very confused. And scared of a lot of things. And working hard to meet everybody’s expectations. And our face is erupting with pimples. And the cute guy just won’t look at us. And our younger siblings are annoying. Sometimes, when it all gets too much to handle, we erupt out in anger.Temper tantrums may be the domain of little kids but sometimes we teens indulge in it too. What you, as parents, need to do is deal well with our anger. More often than not, we will regret our angry outburst and apologize to you on our own. If we don’t, make us realize that we may have hurt you by saying things without thinking when we were angry. Do this when we are calmer, not when we are in the middle of trying to tear apart a pillow and sobbing our lungs out. Yes, we are emotional wrecks.
2- Respect their opinion
Teenagers are at a stage in their life where it is very important for them to feel that their opinions matter. Don’t crush our hopes and dreams by crushing our opinion. Listen to us! How hard is that? A lot of adults just simply dismiss the opinions of teenagers, thinking them immature and foolish. That hurts, okay? We might not be as worldly-wise and mature as you, but we might just have opinions of value. Before you dismiss them outright, at least listen to them. And when we are wrong (as we often are) explain why and how we are wrong. As simple as that.
1- Give them space
This is the best thing you can do for your teenager. You need to understand that your little kid is now growing up. Their whole life no longer revolves around their parents. We as teenagers are experiencing new things, making memories, enjoying the best years of our life and also learning how to be responsible adults in the future. Give us some personal space. And I don’t just mean physical space but emotional space as well. Just because your teenager doesn’t want to share every single tiny detail of her trip to the mall with you, it doesn’t mean that there’s a communication gap between you two. Don’t over-analyze.