Parenting teens can be humbling for every parent. Adolescent brains are still not fully mature, and this age is often defiant, moody, intense and impulsive. Give yourself and your teen grace, knowing that these years will pass and be followed by the joy of parenting an adult. For now, try to find effective ways to communicate, make expectations clear, explain your reasons for having rules, have natural consequences more than harsh conflicts. And focus on ways to spend positive time together.
Offer kind words
Embrace every opportunity to praise your teen for making good choices, being responsible and showing kindness to others. Avoid hurtful words and skirmishes with your teen. This undermines her self-esteem, alienates her, and gives her a reason to rebel even more.
Enlist the help of others
It takes a village to raise teenagers, so keep in close touch with the parents of your child’s friends. Compare notes on what your young people are doing. And work as a team to help them make positive choices.
Regardless of how frustrated you get, don’t hit your child. Research shows that children who are hit by grown-ups become hitters themselves. Now is the time to choose better means of discipline.
The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018 made a formal policy statement opposing spanking, as well as non-physical forms of punishment that are scary, humiliating, or threatening due to extensive research showing that all of these discipline methods are harmful to children.
Consequences can teach
Teens need to see that their poor choices can have unpleasant, natural consequences. For example, when a teen goes out with friends rather than studying and gets a low grade on a test the next day, gently pointing out that life naturally gives all of us consequence can be far more powerful than a parent-made punishment like grounding. In a situation where a teen’s safety is in danger, however, firm parental action is warranted. For example, if your teen gets a ticket for reckless driving, good parenting would include taking the car keys away until the teen earns the money back to pay for the ticket and demonstrates responsibility in some other ways.