Teenagers, am I right? Navigating through this territory is challenging for the kids and parents alike. I remember being a teenager and being nervous about all the changes happening in my everyday life. Also, the stress of becoming an adult was approaching quickly. I have three kids and let me tell you, y’all, I was not excited about them becoming teenagers. Parenting is a tough enough job as is. I’m hoping to help some of y’all out by exploring ways you can help your child navigate their teen years, and maybe we can all make it out alive.
It’s Difficult for Teens Too
In the same way that parenting changes for us, teenagers go through dramatic changes within short periods. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to find them scared and emotional. We both need to have compassion and empathy for each other. We, as parents, need to be a bit more understanding. They are learning how to have opinions and world views for the first time. They can feel self-conscious and lack confidence in the same way we lack confidence in the proper ways to help them.
Show them compassion and be honest with them. Create safe spaces for them to come and express their concerns. Be there for them when they need you and give them space when they ask for it.
Be Their Co-Pilot
All kids are going to have to make mistakes to learn. We want our kids to grow up to be confident, responsible adults. This mindset involves stepping back to let our children fly on their own.
It’s easy for us to want to control all aspects of their lives, but unfortunately, that’s not what they need. Be there to support them when they mess up and congratulate them on their achievements. Become their co-pilot instead of being their pilot.
Don’t Fear Letting Go
Providing your child guidance is excellent when they ask and need it, but don’t be critical when your teenager wants to try something their way. It’s tough letting go of them.
You’re helping them grow up. A challenging part for my mom was when I asked to redo my room. I wanted to let go of the little kid designs and turn the space into something I could grow into as a teenager. Maybe that’s something y’all can do as well, updating your teenager’s room into something sophisticated. This step can help them let go of the child they used to be and grow into the adult they’re becoming.
One of the areas we struggle with, as parents, is being too harsh on ourselves when we don’t get it right every time. Our children watch us and look up to us as role models. Showing ourselves compassion and understanding will help guide them into adulthood and learn to do the same. Owning up to your mistakes will show them it’s OK and how to adapt and change. Helping your child navigate their teen years isn’t going to be easy, but y’all, we’ll make it through.