It’s too easy to get lost in a whirlwind of teenage emotion and lose your focus as a parent. A lack of confidence and clarity will undermine anyone’s efforts.
These six “go-to” strategies are my favourite (most recited) tips for parents. They aren’t new strategies. They are the golden oldies that work! I learnt many of them from experienced parents and grandparents and I hope they help you.
1 – Keep Them Busy
The teenage years could possibly be the most vital time to keep kids moving. Keeping teenagers busy minimises the time they have to get into trouble and hard work won’t kill them. Don’t accept: “I couldn’t be bothered”. Teenagers easily get stuck in a rut and accept second best for their lives. They won’t find their life purpose while they are sitting on the couch watching television and eating chips.
2 – Search For Mentors
Teenagers need positive role models to look up to. These role models will pull out purpose in our teenagers. They will teach them things about life that you and I don’t have a hope of teaching them! I search high and low for the right mentors for my children because they will become who they look up to.
3 – Remember Routine
Routine may seem trivial. I mean, why fight about what time a teenager goes to bed or what time they wake up? Let me explain it like this; Routine protects your teenager’s life purpose. It can even protect your teenager against a life of drugs, crime and promiscuity. Regular sleep patterns, going to school or work is often what stands between purposeful or unproductive living. At the first sign of your teenager wanting to discard routine, realise that it is routine that will keep them engaged in mainstream society.
4 – Don’t Rescue Them
The sooner teenagers feel the consequences of neglected responsibilities the better. Don’t do their homework, don’t do their washing, don’t pay their bills or bail them out of jail. You can help them by allowing them to feel the full weight of their actions as early as possible.
5 – Win the Little Battles
If you say “no” to the little things and you lose those battles, what will happen when you say “no” to bigger things? What will happen when you say “no” to skipping school or “no” to going to a party where you know there will be drugs? Little battles are critical battles. They aren’t a waste of time. They give you the authority and confidence when you face the battles which really matter. You are the final authority in your home so you need to have the final say, for your teenager’s sake.
6 – It’s All About Purpose
Teenagers need to find a reason to say no to drugs, alcohol and sex for themselves. If they don’t find their own purpose, no amount of rules will end up keeping them on the straight and narrow. We need to do is help them find purpose, purpose that becomes more consuming than a desire to party.
THANK YOU to everyone who has been passing these blog posts on, and for all your kind emails about their impact on your family.
If you would like to book me to speak at your school or community event, or book a one on one session email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MOST IMPORTANTLY if your teenager needs support from a psychologist, counselor or mentor Youth Excel would love to help. You can contact me on email@example.com
What Teenage Girls Don’t Tell their Parents is available at www.michellemitchell.org for $24.95 plus postage.