If there is one thing that sneaks up on you, it is your kids getting older. One minute, your little nugget is cooing from the crib. The minute, they have spots and an attitude. So how can you prepare for the teenage years if your only experience with a teenager is yourself?
Having good communication with your kids can be a tough one but it is one that you need to establish before they hit puberty. Once that threshold is crossed, it can be very difficult to break down the barriers that can go up. Your kids need to feel safe that they can come to you with their problems. The last thing you want is to look at the phone bill and see the chat line numbers appearing instead of them talking through stuff with you. Take some time before they get too old to establish good communication.
Take an interest
After years of listening to your kids discuss the same things over and over again, it can be tempting to switch off as they ramble on about their hobbies. We get it, it can be really repetitive. Unfortunately, if you switch off during another ramble about the difference between their toy cars, they could notice. And if they keep noticing that you are switching off, they will lose interest in sharing with you. As great as it might be to get a break from the chatter, they may be less likely to share things with you as they get older. The simple fact is, they might think that you don’t care.
Handle bad behaviour differently
One of the reasons why the parenting book and help industry is worth around $1 billion dollars (the overall parenting industry is worth around $10.5 billion annually) is because it takes a village to raise a child. Parenting books are one way to get some help from experts and give you a different way to raise your kids. This can be useful if you come from parents who were less than stellar in that department. Reading a variety of parenting books can help you get lots of different advice to help with your parenting skills. So, if you do discover some questionable behaviour from your teenager, you will have a toolkit of skills to help you tackle the issues.
Let them solve their own problems
As a parent, the moment your kid gets into trouble, you will want to jump in and save them. This is only natural. However, with teens, this might not be the best choice of action. Teenagers need to learn from their mistakes, otherwise, they may be doomed to repeat them. And sometimes letting them get themselves into a little bit of hot water can do them some good. Obviously, if they are in over their head, step in and help them. If they are able to handle the problem themselves, great, they have given themselves valuable life experience that they can fall back on as an adult. If they can’t, be ready to give them some help and advice so they can navigate the situation again if it comes up.