You couldn't get hold of the things you'd done and turn them right again. Such a power might be given to the gods, but it was not given to women and men, and that was probably a good thing. Had it been otherwise, people would probably die of old age still trying to rewrite their teens. - Stephen King
Teenage life is a difficult time for adolescents who are not kids anymore but have a long way to go before they turn into responsible adults. The hormones run wild, peer pressure builds up, and almost everyday they have to be on the lookout for many unseen dangers and risks that threaten to take away the golden days of their lives and leave a permanent scar on their impressionable minds. Drugs, violence, peer pressure, alcohol, sex, etc., there are so many things that parents of teens need to worry about.
The first rule of parenting a teenager is trying to relate to his/her actions by drawing upon your personal experiences of being a teen. Try to establish a strong bond with your child right from the beginning. Encourage your child to express his/her feelings clearly in order to create an open and healthy atmosphere at home. Never suppress your child's emotions and questions. Instead, try to answer your child's queries to build a bond, wherein your child can come home and share all his/her experiences with you without any hesitation.
Helping Them Deal With the Change
Being a teen is a phase that marks the transition that lies between being naive toddlers and responsible adults. Kids in this age group need help from their parents to deal with this change. Take note of the fact that the hormonal changes are a major reason for their mood swings and increased anger and irritability. In addition to that, the psychological state of these kids is also vulnerable to psychological disorders like the attention deficit disorder or the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They are constantly attempting to establish their identity as they deal with rising peer pressure and are exposed to new trends and changing definitions of what is 'in' and what's not. In addition to these situations, if a teenager has to experience other traumatic experiences like the loss of a loved one, or parents' divorce, he/she may find it extremely difficult to handle it and will require immense comfort and support to rise out of it. Parenting them require parents and guardians to get into their shoes, empathize with their troubles, and build a bond of trust without pressurizing them.
Dealing with Bulimia, Drugs, Smoking, Violence, and Sex
Always remember that the types of problems that teens face can have a great impact on their future if not checked at the right time. While parenting a teenage child, enough importance should be given to making your child aware of the dangers of drug abuse, violence, smoking, and even unprotected sex. Drug abuse is one of the major threats that have gripped the teenage generation. If you think that you cannot put a stop to the easy access to drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, educate your child about their ill effects and converse about these subjects constantly. It is a known fact that a large number of teens are indulging in unprotected sex. Do not leave sex education apart and think that it will be taught in the school's sex-ed class. Do not shy away from talking about it and the other issues related to it. Talk about safe sex, and try to have a healthy conversation about the dangers of unprotected sex.
Discourage your son/daughter from indulging in smoking and alcohol by setting an example. In case he/she sees you smoking and drinking casually, it is likely that your speech about the ill effects of smoking and drinking will fall on deaf ears. A large number of teen girls create a pseudo picture of 'being beautiful' by looking at the anorexic models and celebrities on television and cinema. Crash diets and the incessant obsession of losing weight is one of the major issues that lead to problems like bulimia and anorexia. Parents of teen girls need to talk to them about the importance of a beautiful mind that supersedes the outer beauty and also should teach them the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle with proper exercise and adequate nutrition.
Converse, Befriend, and Respect - Be a Facilitator
Respect your teenager and avoid yelling or punishing him/her for every small mistake. Every wrong step or mistake is an opportunity for you to converse with him/her and teach the importance of doing the right thing and making the right choices. If you try to impose rigorous rules and restrictions, the teenager is bound to rebel against them. Try to make decisions and set rules with mutual consent and understanding. Most of the parents complain about kids being disrespectful to them; however, treating them the way you want to be treated is the easiest way out. Do not try to dominate or dictate terms, instead be their friend and work things out together.
Instead of constantly nagging and advising, try conversing and suggesting ideas. However, while being your child's friend make sure you don't overdo it. Kids hate it if their parents constantly try to be a part of their conversations with friends and can get annoyed if you try too hard to be one of them. Maintain a healthy distance, trust your teens, and teach them to make the right choices and take responsibility for their actions. Assure them that you will always support or help them. Happy parenting!