3 Tips on How to Raise and Educate your Teenager
Raising a teenager isn’t always easy, and it requires a lot of patience and intelligence on your part, especially when it comes to instilling solid values and setting limits. Additionally, you want your child to grow up with maturity and responsibility. Here are five tips on how to properly raise and educate your teenager.
You might like: 5 Tips for Raising a Healthy Teenager
How to Raise and Educate Your Teenager
1. Give them more freedom, but also more responsibilities
Daughters can often be more precocious than sons, 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 in ways you don’t understand.
Your kids are growing up. They’re entering the world of adulthood but they’re still children at heart. As a result, it’s not easy for them. Try to remember that they’re at the mercy of their hormones and personal drama. In addition, 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. When it comes time to educate your teenager, it’s important they learn that with more freedom comes more responsibility.
Balance is Key
The best things you can do as a parent is to 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 learn this at an early age. Things don’t just “fall from the sky” because they want them to. 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 education and their actions. Additionally, remember that you’re the one who sets the standards, so you’ll 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 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, ask 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 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. It’s not healthy that they only come 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. Ask them about the things they like, their friends, a person they’re interested. Furthermore, encourage them to share their lives with you without any pressure.
Hopefully, they’ll learn that you’re their ally, not an enemy or someone who only offers criticism or punishment.
Listen to them, guide them, be their father, mother, and best friend (within reason). Set limits when you should and give freedom when it’s earned through their maturity and responsible behavior.
Educate your Teenager to Have Balance in Their Life
To conclude, raising teenagers, of course, isn’t easy, and no one has the perfect instruction manual. Nonetheless, 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 educate your teenager by jointly promoting the same values for the same reasons.
- Elias, M. J., Tobias, S. E., & Friedlander, B. S. (2000). Raising Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers: Parenting with Love, Laughter, and Limits. Harmony books, Random House, Inc., 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.
- Myers, B. (1996). Raising Responsible Teenagers.