Sometimes, the pressure of raising teenagers makes us as parents feel inadequate, anxious, and worried for our children.
As a mom, I certainly understand these frustrations.
However, recent studies show that today's teenagers are often just as stressed out as their adult counterparts.
That means that our stress (and everyone has a lot of it these days) is likely rubbing off on our teenagers.
To help you combat this stress and strengthen your relationship with your teenager (no matter how good or bad it is right now) I've created this list of parenting tips.
This advice has definitely gotten me through some tough times.
Remember, no matter how much they might push you, you're still the parent. That means it's up to you to encourage them to stay focused, happy, and moving forward.
1. Encourage Self-Expression
You likely remember from your own teenage years that during adolescence, you felt super creative. (Of course, whether the "epic poetry" you wrote your high school crush was actually good is still up for debate.)
However, you already know teenagers can sometimes feel embarrassed to express themselves.
Do what you can to foster your teen's love for art, music, theatre...basically, anything that lets them use their imagination.
You don't have to force your teen to enroll in an art class or make them join a book club.
Instead, start small. For example, let them have total freedom (within reason) when it comes to decorating their rooms.
Since this is your teen's domain, let them have some creative license. This shows you respect their privacy. Plus, it helps to develop a sense of trust between you.
Make suggestions to keep the environment as comfortable as possible for them.
If you live in an unhumid area, for instance, purchase a humidifier for your teen's room. Also, pick up some air plants. (seriously!) These plants will help your teen to fall asleep faster and keep the room's air quality clean.
2. Celebrate Their Accomplishments
A recent study shows that teenagers today spend a minimum of 9 hours consuming some form of media -- every single day.
You know firsthand just how accurate this is. Seriously, can they not even put the phone down at the dinner table?
As a parent raising teenagers, it's your job to accept that social media will be in your teen's life. However, it's also your job to encourage them to think outside of their Facebook feeds.
To fight back against social media, always make sure to celebrate your teen's accomplishments. Take them out to dinner, write them a nice card, or even brag about them on your own social media feeds.
You know that kids will go with anything that earns them "likes."
This will build up your teenager's self-confidence. Plus, it will also teach them the all-important lesson that hard work pays off.
3. Open Up to Them
As the parent of a teenager myself, I know that sometimes, honest communication can feel difficult -- if not outright impossible.
However, you might be surprised to know that most teens actually do want to ask their parents for advice. They even want us to have the tough conversations with them. Sometimes, they just don't know how to start those conversations.
That part is up to us.
Start by asking for their advice on a problem you're having at work or even with friends.
Once you start talking, you should also share experiences from your own past -- especially from your adolescence.
I get that it might seem like your teen lives an entirely different life than you did at their age. However, the reality is that often, they face the same struggles and milestones as you did: first love, fights with friends, and academic pressure.
Sharing how you got through tough times will help your teen come to you for advice in the future.
Raising Teenagers Isn't As Hard As You Think
Raising teenagers certainly poses a unique set of challenges. However, it's also an incredibly important phase in their development.
This is when your child begins to become more independent.
Remember, one of the best ways you can continue to take care of your teen is to also make sure you're also taking care of yourself.
Photo Credit: ericdez, pixabay.com