Teenagers tend to believe that nobody, including their parents, understands them. Teens are a bit hardwired in that way, but that doesn't mean you, as parents, can't do everything in your power to make sure you are a good role model and trustworthy confidant for your child as they grow up. Here are 10 parenting habits that you should develop in order to create a positive relationship with your teens.
PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE
This advice might not appeal to you in the beginning, yet it has to be given due importance. There is no need to feel guilty about making this habit a normal routine as moments spent on dinner table or in the car with the child are moments that can be spent giving the child total attention. So it is emphasised that putting away the gadget is much needed.
EAT DINNER TOGETHER
So much of successful teen parenting is about getting face time with them. So many other things vie for your child’s attention that you have to be diligent about getting noticed. Setting a habit to have one meal together every day carves out a time for all of you to reconnect.
FIND A HOBBY TO SHARE
Whether it is hiking, painting, going shopping, or watching a TV show together, find something that you love doing with each other so that you can continue to carve time out for those activities with each other in between all the time they spend with their friends.
TUCK THEM INTO BED
Conventional parenting wisdom holds that the first three minutes after kids wake up and the last three minutes before they go to bed are the best times to connect with them. The magic behind bedtime conversations is simple: kids will do anything, even tell you the details of their day, to stay up a little later. Prior to the teen years, this is a great time to catch up with your kid, but it is a habit that should definitely continue as they age. Turns out, teens are just as willing to talk, and there is an even more serious reason why checking in at night should be your habit. If kids are going to start making dangerous choices, the evidence of those habits will be more obvious at night. More importantly, teens are so much more likely to get in trouble, including sneaking out, when they feel like their parents have gone ‘off-duty’ for the night. Checking in reminds them that you are always present.
LET THEM FAIL
At the beginning of this parenting gig, you were quite literally responsible for your child's survival. Remember, the early years when you had to protect your child from ingesting bleach or falling down the stairs? That kind of vigilance is a hard habit to break but you can’t go on protecting them from everything that life has to offer. They will fall and they should be able to get back up on their own. In order to make your teen take responsibility of their action, you have to let them try things on their own. It is best for parents to start early to begin to train themselves to give their kids space and do things. They may succeed or fail but that shouldn’t be a big deal.
MAKE PHYSICAL CONTACT
Teenagers are definitely growing in so many ways, but they are not often cuddly. As kids hit the preteen years, make an effort to find new ways to keep the physical contact up. Maybe it is a quick pat on the back or a smoothing of the hair. It doesn't have to be prolonged, but it has to be present.
TALK ABOUT THEIR DAY
When it comes to teens, the biggest challenge is grabbing their attention. Before the busyness of high school hits, make sure you have a habit of checking in with each other every day. Maybe it is through text or email, but make it consistent.
SPEND TIME WITH THEIR FRIENDS
While it is said that you can't choose your kid's friends, you can certainly know who they are. With such a high possibility of getting left out of the loop, knowing who your kids are with and what they are doing is the key. Heed this warning sign: if your kids are talking about people who you have never met and don't know anything about, it is time to get acquainted.
UNDERSTAND THEIR INTERESTS
From a young age, a child's interests could change with the seasons, which can get overwhelming and hard to keep track of, but it is important to keep up with them. Understanding what your teen is interested in – the new band, a video game, or an Internet craze – and being attentive when they talk about it will help them feel comfortable communicating with you, which means knowing what they are up to and being involved in the small parts of their life.
INTERACT WITH THEIR TECHNOLOGY
Technology is constantly changing, and consequently, blowing right past the parents of teenagers. It is almost expected that parents will be in the dark about the latest app that is a dangerous place to be. By the time they hit the teen years, kids should be used to you knowing about what is new in their tech world and checking on how they are using it. While you are at it, put limits on their technology use and keep that up during the teen years.