Top Tips for Raising Teens from Experts.
Don't struggle alone.
Let's face it, raising teenagers is challenging. In this article, we invited Experts for tips and advice on how to raise a teenager.
As a parent, you got through the sleepless nights when your child was an infant, then the toddler tantrums, etc. You've been through all the milestones of your child's life. Now, you're at the teenage stage, you'll experience a different set of challenges.
Many families struggle with these teenage stages. Your child is now transitioning into becoming an adult and these years are most valuable before they go out into the world.
It is also imperative that they receive a good upbringing, especially in their teenage years. As, this will determine their adulthood and exposure into the real world without you, the parent, supporting them at every step.
In this article, we will cover the most common teenage problems, how to overcome these and how to raise them.
We also invited Experts to give advice on this matter. These professionals are also available for online sessions.
So, if you need help with parenting your teen, you can reach out to them and book a session.
Common Teen Problems
Here are some of the most common teenage problems:
- Peer pressure;
- Self-esteem and lack of confidence;
- Substance and alcohol abuse;
- Rebellion and behavioral issues;
- Underage sex.
Tips for Raising Teens
We understand the frustration that comes with being a parent of a teen but remember, this is your child whom you love dearly. Help is also just a click away when you need it.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in seven 10-19-year-olds suffers mental disorders globally. This accounts for 13%.
The most common mental health conditions are depression, anxiety and behavioral disorders. Also, according to WHO, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-19-year-olds.
Due to the prevalence of depression among teens, Dawn Gellner shares advice for parents for depressed teenagers:
Depression in teens is rampant in our world today. According to Youth Data 2021 from Mental
Health America, 13.84% of 12-17 year-olds experienced at least one major depressive episode
this year. Left untreated, teen depression is more likely to develop into depression in adulthood.
In fact, by the time they are adults, about 20% of all teens will have experienced depression.
Things have also taken a turn for the worse during the COVID-19 pandemic; Depression and anxiety in youths have doubled in comparison to pre-pandemic numbers. In 2019, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 40% increase from 2009 in high schoolers who have persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Recognizing and treating teen depression early is absolutely crucial in preventing their pain and even suicide.
The most important thing to do is simply to listen. Listen well. And this is not a skill that many parents possess automatically. To even be able to recognize that a teen is feeling depressed or that something is bothering them, they need to feel like they can talk to you. No one wants to talk to someone who is judgemental, distracted, patronizing, or self-obsessed. Great listening skills are key.
Getting teens to talk to you is also something that needs to be done consistently over time. Wanting a teen to speak to you suddenly, when you haven't been listening or paying attention to them properly for months, won't work.
Some tips to support good communication for parents of teens, that I have collected through my work with teenagers are:
Take time each day to be present with your teen. This can be at dinnertime while driving to school, or even while having a coffee break together with them after school. Just be there, maintain good eye contact, put away your phone and other electronics. Ask open questions and show interest without being pushy for specific information. Listening for a while to what may seem mundane and pointless to you makes the teen feel listened to, seen, and makes them more likely to open up later on.
Ask specific questions that show you have been listening and interested in what is going on in their lives and what is important to them. For instance, instead of “How was your day?”, try asking “How did your speech go in history class today?”, or “What happened during your session today with the university counselor?”
Crucial is to not freak out and judge what they are saying. Sometimes parents react to what a teen is saying, especially if it is meant to provoke them. Just listen and stay calm.
Also, remember that boys talk more when they are doing another activity with you. During fishing, cooking together, or even just going to the supermarket, they may open up more. This feels less confrontational to them.
If a teen does not want to talk or seems moody, give them some space. Maybe they are hungry, maybe they are tired, maybe it's their hormones. Try to just offer time and your presence later.
If they express to you that they are feeling depressed or display any of the following symptoms (Feeling sad, frequent crying spells, irritability, feels of hopelessness and worthlessness, overly self-critical, self-esteem issues, self-harm, sleep disturbances, problems with their schoolwork, physical symptoms, poor personal hygiene, inability to concentrate, changes in eating habits, frustration, anger, drug and alcohol abuse) for more than two weeks, take it seriously and get them professional help, preferably from a psychologist or counselor that has experience in working with teens. Expressing a wish to die or commit suicide should be taken very seriously and professional help should be sought immediately.
Above all, do not try and live your life through your children. Let them be who they are and support them in their own feelings and desires. Only then will they be able to know themselves well, find a passion, and feel motivated. They need to be supported on their path, not one that you have chosen for them, albeit with good intentions. A common contributing factor to depression is when teens feel pressure from their parents to be different than they are. One can not expect a teenager or indeed any individual to feel happy, secure, or supported when they are constantly trying to please others or can only be accepted when changing who they are or what they want.
In conclusion, the best advice I have for parents of teenagers is to remember that kids look to parents for stability and for a safe place to go to when feeling down or confused. It is our job as parents to be a “container” for all of the child's emotions when they come to us with them. If we can remain calm and in control and not freak out when they say something scary or confide in us about something shocking, they know they can count on us to be there for them no matter what.
This takes away some of their stress and reassures them. We want to be this safe and accepting “container” for them. If your teenager knows depression is real, treatable, taken seriously, and that there are people that want to help them, this is invaluable on their road to recovery.
We understand that teens can be rebellious and you might be finding yourself to be arguing constantly with your child. Janice Celeste shares advice on this and she also gives tips on how to treat and show them, love:
1. If parents are together or they have a significant other, stand as a united front with the teen, even if they don’t agree behind closed doors. Teens can smell weakness and will work the weakest link.
2. Choose your battles with your teen. Ask yourself will it matter in five years, if so battle on!
3. Check-in at least daily with your teen. The more the better! Let them know that you are happy to be their parent because you are proud of them when they do something well.
4. Parents keep in mind that, “Unconditional love is free, but freedom is earned.”
5. Lastly, know that children don’t forget how you have treated them after they become adults. They remember and will remind you when they are older. Your one bad day can last a lifetime for them — no pressure. Be kind.
Chet Spence, Online Life Coach gives some advice on how to be loving towards teens and what behavior is acceptable and what is not:
There are three actions I believe are paramount for any parent to do. The earlier in their lives you do this, the easier parenting will be for you in tough times.
First, hold and hug your children. Studies show that children who are held and hugged from birth on up have greater cognitive skills, better sleep patterns, and better cognitive control. The power of holding and hugging is immense.
Second, speak words of affirmation to them. Tell them how proud you are of them. Tell them how strong and confident they are. Speak words of encouragement and love into them. They may not understand or respond, but that's okay. You are building a strong foundation by speaking words of affirmation into them.
Third, pick and choose your battles carefully. We tend to overreact when it comes to children's behavior, like using a sledgehammer on a nail. Define what is unacceptable vs. what is irritating. These two may not carry the same weight. If my daughter came home with purple hair, that would irritate me. If she shoplifted, that would be unacceptable. How I choose to handle these two scenarios would be very different.
We hope you found this article to be informative and helpful. If you need help with raising your teen, you can book sessions with these Experts.