I work with a lot of teenagers and adolescents. Because of this, I also work with a lot of teens’ and adolescents’ parents. The teenage years can be great in so many ways, but they can also be really tough. Many parents feel helpless when their child is struggling. Teens often withdraw from their parents when they are upset, or take out their anger on them. Parents try to help, but often end up angering or upsetting their child. I have had so many parents ask me what they can do to help their teen because they don’t know what to do. If you’ve ever felt like this, this post is for you.
The 12 Things Your Teen Needs From You
1. Your teen needs you to be a safe haven. They need you to be their home base. They need to know that you will be there when it feels like no one else is.
2. They need you to believe in them. They need to know you think they can do it even if they’re doubting themselves or someone else tells them they can’t.
3. They need you to recognize their growing independence. They are growing up and they need you to realize this. They need you to consider renegotiating curfew, rules, and other rules as they grow older.
4. They need you to be in charge. They need to know that you are still their parent, even though they are growing up. You are responsible for keeping them safe and protected.
5. They need you to set limits and boundaries for them. They may not want this at the moment, but it will help them feel safer and know that you are in charge.
6. They need you to teach them responsibility. Help them learn that they must accept the consequences of their actions and how to handle this in a mature way.
7. They need you to help them when they make mistakes. Talk about how to handle it and talk through what to do. Don’t step in and fix the problem for them, but help them figure out what to do for themselves.
8. They need you to teach them life skills. Cooking, laundry, cleaning, managing money are all things that are better learned from you than by trial and error.
9. They need you to recognize they are moody, impulsive, and hormonal. Don’t take everything personally and try not to “take the bait” when they try to argue with you irrationally.
10. They need you to be interested in their life. They may not always want to talk to you, but when they do, they need your undivided attention and interest.
11. They need you to just listen. Try not to step in and try to fix their problems. Teens often resent this because they just wanted you to listen, and it doesn’t Allow them to learn to help themselves.
12. They need you to love them. Show them and tell them in as many ways as you can. Don’t worry about whether they reciprocate – they may not, but they still need to know you love them.
If you focus on those things, you’re in good shape! You are doing what you can to help your teen in many important ways.