Raising a teenager can pose a lot of challenges especially if you have a girl. Aside from the rigors of their academic life there are other things to consider such as peer pressure and extra-curricular activities, you have to deal with their hormonal changes. The feeling that “No one understands me” is the last thing I want my daughter to feel. That is why I keep my communications open. However for some reason, they have this tendency to lock themselves up.

Everyone knows that there is no black and white rules in raising a teenager yet I know most parents would agree with me that it requires a lot of patience, persistence and determination. It can be a struggle but rewarding at the same time.

There are things that we, parents have to bear mind as we raise our teenagers. We should know these things, we’ve been there, right?

  • Keep your communication lines open – I believe this is the most important thing in any relationship. Even though we feel that they are still too young to discuss these things such as dating, puppy love, etc. Whatever you do, do not put a barrier. Sometimes, we are guilty of this. Once our daughter starts talking about a crush, we immediately block them and say…“You’re not suppose to be talking about that, you’re still too young!” Try not to be a spoiler. There are many ways to send your message, just let them finish first. Make an effort to be enthusiastic about their story, ask questions and then you inject your point.

What we don’t want our teenagers to feel is that nobody wants to listen and understand them. This will leave them feeling angry and confused. They will try to find the company of friends and acquaintances whom they feel understands them.  Soon, you’ll find that they want to be with them than your family.

  • Setting the Rules – The rules in the house should have been set long before, while they were growing up. This way you only have to remind them that even if they are teenagers still need to abide by the rules. I add up by saying that older siblings should be a role model.  A little responsibility wouldn’t hurt.
  • Privileges and Responsibility – Since they are old enough for some privileges, let them have it. Give them some leeway however remind them what Uncle Ben (Spider Man) said, “With great power comes great responsibilities.” If they want to go malling with friends, let them be. Teenagers are in the process of finding their own identity, their spot in this universe. As long as they know their limitations and you know the friends that they hang out with, that’s fine.
  • Talk about your fears – Do not be afraid to talk about your fears. It gives our children the proper perspective when they understand the “WHY?” Why are you not letting them go to an “open party” or go clubbing with friends? Discuss the dangers.

With my daughter, I didn’t feel the need to tell her not to drink when in a party. Huwaaat???  That would be the baffled reaction of my female friends. My reason — she will drink even if I told her not to. However, I have rules when it comes to drinking.

  • Don’t drink anything that is given to you.
  • Don’t leave your drink unattended, and if you should, don’t drink it again.
  • Drink in moderation.

The first two rules have a very good reason. We are trying to avoid “spiked drinks”. You know what happens when you gulp up a spiked drink.

Dealing with the different concerns of adolescence can leave all parties feeling exhausted. Understand that this is the most difficult years of growing up, families should work together to recognize the needs of of each family member in order to be successful at helping their children in their development. As parents, keep your end goal in mind — we are raising a responsible, God-fearing individual that will soon be a contributor to our society.

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