Raising a teenager isn’t always easy, and it requires a lot of patience and intelligence on your part – especially the knowledge of how to instil solid values and set limits so your child can grow up with maturity and responsibility. In today’s article, we’ll explain three things to pass on to your teenager.
Tips for educating your teenager
1. Give them more freedom, but also more responsibilities
Daughters are normally more precocious, and once they turn 11 or 12 years old they tend to start demanding more freedom. Boys take a bit longer to mature. It’s usually about the age of 13 when suddenly, without any warning, they become more stubborn and proud, reacting to things in a way you don’t understand.
Your kids are growing up. They’re entering the world of adulthood but they’re still children at heart. And it’s not easy for them. Try to remember that they’re at the mercy of their hormones and personal dramas – and that’s going to help define who they become.
Your teenager needs opportunities to learn more about themselves, to have more freedom, and to find out the consequences of their actions.
The best thing you can do as a parent is help maintain a balance between their freedoms and responsibilities. They can go out on the weekends, for example, as long as they continue doing well in school. Make them understand they need to respect your curfew, because if they come home too late they’ll lose their privileges.
What’s key here is that all teenagers need to learn that life is full of rules and requirements that everyone – especially adults – has to obey, so they might as well understand this at an early age. Things don’t just “fall from the sky” because they want them. They’ll have to learn to work hard to earn money, which they’ll use to buy food, clothing, provide shelter… to live.
You’ll need to make your teenager take responsibility for their own studies and their actions. And remember that you’re the one who sets the standards, so you need to enforce them. If you waver or change your expectations from day to day, you’ll lose their respect.
2. Positive reinforcement: better than punishment
Some parents make the mistake of constantly punishing their teenagers. They talk down to them, scolding them, providing negative reinforcement every time they do something wrong. Instead, you need to learn to maintain a balance. Here’s an example: they fail an exam, come home with the bad grades, and you yell at them for being lazy and say they’ll never amount to anything in life.
This is something that you shouldn’t do. It only creates negative feelings, low self-esteem, and a sense of hopelessness. Instead, as them what happened and try to rebuild their confidence. Tell them that you have faith in them and you know they’ll do better next time, because they’re fully capable of succeeding if they put their mind to it.
When they make mistakes, show them how they can do better – try not to sink to criticism. You need to adopt a strategy that builds their confidence, instead of constantly punishing them. That’s the best way.
3. Communicate and build trust
Always make a little time in every day to spend with your teenager and ask them how their day was. Don’t judge them based on what they did or didn’t do. As parents, you need to guide them, and the only way you can do that successfully is with constant communication and trust.
Try not to let your teenager become the typical boy or girl who’s always shut in their room with their computer or music…the kid who only comes out to eat or meet up with their friends. Prevent self-isolation by always promoting family activities at home from the time they’re young.
During mealtimes, turn off the TV and talk to your kids. As them about the things they like, their friends, a person they’re interested…encourage them to share their lives with you without any pressure.
Hopefully they’ll learn that in you they have an ally – not an enemy or someone who only offers criticism or punishment.
Listen to them, guide them, be their father, mother, and best friend. Set limits when you should and give freedom when it’s earned – through their maturity and responsible behavior.
To conclude, raising teenagers of course isn’t easy, and no one has the perfect instruction manual. But we promise you that if you stay optimistic, showing them love and respect, your teen will grow up to be mature and responsible.
People who are truly happy understand that in order to go far in life you have to work hard. To have good friends you have to be respectful and understanding. That level of emotional intelligence and awareness is something that you can help build in your child.
Last but not least: it’s also important that both parents agree on the education of their children. Together, you should jointly promote the same values for the same reasons.