Pick Your Battles

If you are or ever have been a parent of a teen, then you know that the road gets a bit rough at times. From arguments to disagreements, it seems it may never end. What if I told you that not every argument is worth winning though?  When it comes to teenage children and picking your battles, Here are 2 situations to just be the bigger person and let it go, and 2 situations where you should speak up and be firm with your teen.

  1. Just because you made mistakes, don’t make your teenage child pay for them.

We were all a teenager at one point in life. Looking back, you can think of a time or two where maybe you made some not so smart choices, right? Maybe drinking at a party or sneaking out of the house? Although it’s terrifying to think of your child making the same bad decisions, don’t necessarily expect that they will. If your teenage son or daughter has never showed you this kind of behavior,  you must let them have the opportunity to prove they never will. Next time your son or daughter want to go to a friend’s birthday party, let them.  As long as there is no known danger, or past bad behavior, you can’t keep them from situations based on bad choices you have made in life.  Give them a curfew and let them go. Avoid a huge fight by trying to always deny them what is fun to them, because the truth is, that isn’t fair.  Teens usually behave better when they are trusted,  rather than bad behavior being expected.

  1. Let them be themselves.

We all know style has changed over the years.  Our teenage children tend to laugh at our style of music while we shake our heads at theirs. Maybe you have had an argument with your child before school one day because of his or her outfit. What if you were told what you could and could not wear?  Granted, it may feel like you’re helping your child out when you think they look ridiculous in what they are wearing,  but you have to let your child choose to figure that out for herself. Avoid the argument, and as long as her outfit isn’t over-revealing or display graphic images, let her wear it and let it go.

  1. Teenage years are scary when it comes to dating.

We all have our own set of rules when it comes to dating. It is a personal choice whether you let your teenage child date or not.  If you are one of the parents who do let your son or daughter date, there are still things you need to be aware and careful of.  Never let your child date someone who is more than a year or two older than them. Be firm on this, even if it ends in a door slamming burst of tears, do not let this be something you let up on.  Let’s face it, when you’re a teenager, you’re very easily influenced by those around you, and when it comes to somebody you like, that influence is even more powerful. Although it may not be in all cases, a 17 year old boy is going to have different intentions than your 14 year old daughter.  If you’re going to let him or her date,  be sure your child and his or her boyfriend or girlfriend are the same, or near the same age. When he or she is older, and choose to date someone older, that is then a personal choice, but until then, teen years are too scary to allow your child to make decisions based on the influence of an older boyfriend or girlfriend.

  1. Be sure you know your child’s playmates and playgrounds.

Let’s say your teenage child has a friend who has been in trouble for shoplifting and skipping school several times in the past. It’s Friday, and she asks to go hang out with this friend for the night.  This is a time where you want to stand your ground with telling your teen “no.” Even if your child has never been in trouble with this friend, as I stated earlier, this is an age our kids are most easily influenced. Not only that, most states have laws that are strict on shoplifting. More times than not, if you are even with a person who is shoplifting and never even touch the item being stolen, you still receive the same consequences as the person who did. Depending on the place and amount of items taken, along with other factors, this can include anything from a warning, to a ticket, and in some cases, even juvenile detention.

The same goes for instances where your teenager is asking to go hang out at a place known to have a lot of drug activity; even if you think “my son or daughter would never participate in drug use. ” Teens are curious, and a lot of times, that curiosity leads to experimenting. Don’t let that chance be increased by allowing your child to be in an environment that exposes her to such things, and be firm with this.

There is no denying raising a teenager is tough, and you will be put in situations where you don’t want your son or daughter to feel like you are always the bad guy, and denying them of freedom. Other times, you feel like you are protecting your child by consistently telling them “no”, even if that means it’s a constant argument. Following these tips on picking your battles with your teenager, may make things just a bit more easier.

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