As a parent, it's inevitable that your sons and daughters are going to outgrow their cute and innocent childhood years and become cold, rebellious teens.
Before you know it, hormones will overtake your household and phrases like, "I love you mommy," will soon become things of the past. Boys, girls, and typical teenage drama will consume your not-so-little kids' lives, leaving you wondering how exactly to approach parenting a teenager.
While it's not going to be easy, there are a variety of parenting techniques and tips that'll help you connect with that nearly unrecognizable teenager sitting at your dinning room table. To make the adjustment easier, here are 16 hacks to help you navigate the rough teenage years.
1. Get yourself out of the mindset that your teen is the same helpless child they once were. Stop mourning their childhood and allow your child to develop independence.
2. Give your teen a prepaid debit card to show them the responsibility of managing money. That way, they'll be forced to learn their limits.
3. Don't preach or get involved in too many heavily debated conversations. They will only lead to more frustration on both sides.
4. Remain firm in rules, consequences, and other household policies. They will not "like, die" if they have to spend one night at home with the fam.
5. Set aside weekly one-on-one, parent-teen time to bond and let easy, positive conversation flow.
6. Getting your kid to deal with their messy room is often a losing battle. Agree on common cleanliness guidelines and don't cave. If you keep cleaning up their messes when they push you to the limit, pushing is exactly what they'll continue to do.
7. Provide your teenager with private time away from the rest of the family. Let them shut their bedroom door and decompress.
8. Eat meals together to encourage family bonding and daily conversation.
9. Turn off and put all phones and other smart devices away at night. (Again, they will not die from lack of iPhone use, contrary to what they might say.)
10. Set up firewalls and set limitations on internet use to protect your teen's cyber safety.
11. Don't stress out about your son's or daughter's grades too much. Set up mutual expectations and let your teen strive for success on their own. Each child learns in his or her own way.
12. Encourage your kids to get involved in team activities. Whether they prefer debate teams or they want to play sports, these hobbies will teach them invaluable life lessons and social skills that they'll never forget.
13. Show your teenager that having a car is a privilege and not a right.
14. Your wallet is not an endless supply of gas money. Encourage your burgeoning adult to get a job and keep the tank full on their own.
15. If you're worried about your kids going out, make their friends feel welcome in your home. Let them have privacy, but breathe easy with the comfort that they're under the same roof.
16. To avoid fighting about curfew, find a common time and set an alarm. Make it your teen's mission to come home and turn off the alarm before it goes off to avoid the consequences.
I can remember being a pretty unruly teenager. Hang in there parents. You've got this.