7 Tips for Parents of Teenagers

“If you liked being a teenager, there’s something really wrong with you.” 
Stephen King

Looking around at the quotes, memes, and blogs, it appears that many parents just try to survive the teenage years.

I am not an expert. However, I do have a few teenagers eating, learning, texting, eating, and working within our home. The more time I spend with them, the more I hope I get to keep them around for as long as they will stay.

These young men and women are the most fascinating people I could ever hope to know. They are passionate, loyal, creative, able, emotional, strong and opinionated. These qualities have occasionally bothered me, and I am still working on that. I have frequently floundered while wading through teenage emotions. But it’s time to start appreciating the incredible value of this glorious, volatile, uncertain, formative time of life.

Consider these seven things if you happen to know a teenager:

  1. Don’t stop touching. Some like a hug more than others. Be sensitive to individual preferences, but try giving a playful sock in the arm occasionally.
  2. Listen. Force yourself to listen without reacting. Make eye contact. Thank him for sharing his thoughts with you and don’t take this for granted.
  3. Keep being a parent. Teens still need boundaries. Don’t be a tyrant, but don’t be just a buddy.
  4. Don’t be easily shocked. When she shares surprising, unpleasant information about random people, your shocked face will teach her, “Never reveal negative news again. Parents can’t handle it.” You want her to feel that she can tell you anything.
  5. Stay acquainted. Know your teen. Ask strategic, non-invasive questions. Keep current with his likes and dislikes.
  6. Give genuine praise. Always look for ways to encourage your teenager. Then do it again. Praise her good choices, work habits, appearance, character, or friends. Praise only when it is true, but don’t be stingy, either.
  7. Never give up. They are not who they were, and they aren’t who they will be. Be patient. Don’t forecast his life. Watch, hope and wait for the person he is becoming…assisted by your love, help and guidance.

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