Teenagers are complex creatures all their own. It’s like puberty takes away your baby, turning them into something else entirely. Something moody and broody, with streaks of positive vibes and feel-good moods. Raising a teenager can certainly be a challenge. However, what parents don’t realize is that teenagers need their own space. Sure, you could download software to keep an eye on their activities, and that’s good in some ways. But trust is something you should strive to give in small, cautious doses—and here’s why.
Teenagers Need Alone Time Too
While teenagers might seem alien to you sometimes, they are people with human emotions and feelings. This means they feel the need for alone time like everyone else. They need time to be themselves, do things that interest them, and simply be left alone with their thoughts and feelings for a bit. So, instead of nagging your teenager to constantly talk to you, leave your door open for when they’re ready for conversation.
Teenagers Long for Trust and Independence
Unfortunately, teenagers can and will make some bad decisions sometimes. However, it’s all a big part of the learning curve. They crave your trust and their own independence. So, give it to them—but in small doses. See how they do with a little leeway and then progress from there. Teenagers with too much freedom are sure to break your trust in big ways. But a little freedom at a time is likely to end with better results.
But You Can Still Set Boundaries and Expectations
While trust and independence are must-haves for any teenager these days, boundaries and expectations are bigger MUSTS. Respect the rights that your teenager has to a bit of freedom, but make your requirements clear. They will push your boundaries because it’s in their nature, but you should hold steadfast in your decisions. And have consequences for when those rules and boundaries are broken.
You Want Your Teen to Connect with You
Connection is an important element between you and your teenager. As they grow up, you want them to know they can come to you for anything—regardless of what it is. However, shame, embarrassment, and a general need for independence can keep them from confiding in you. Make sure you leave that proverbial door open for discussions and in-depth conversations. Be available but not too pushy when it comes to connecting with your teen.
Don’t be afraid of your teenager. Some parents are scared of offending or emotionally damaging their teen, but you should be more afraid of not developing a lasting connection. You can give your kid a little space AND be a strong parent.