How to Raise a Teenager?

If you are like me, I would prefer to go back being a teenager then being a parent now. Although when I was in my teenage years, I wanted to be an adult as soon as possible. I thought being an adult was more fun, had more freedom, less worries and of course more money to spend.

I would readily admit now that being an adult or parent is no piece of cake. My children are all still below 10 years of age but I can’t help noticing my other friends who got married earlier and are now faced with raising teenagers.

The parent’s complaints

Some of the common complaints I hear are:

  • The are lazy and irresponsible
  • They are not concern about their school work and grades
  • They are not open about the things they do outside the home
  • They like to keep to themselves and to keep a distance from loved ones
  • They can be self-centered or self-absorbed
  • They quietly do things (e.g. drink) without the parent’s knowledge

The parent’s expectations are to have their teens be more respectful, mature and responsible. What seems very obvious to me is that the parents are worried that they are losing control over their teenagers. On the other hand, the teenagers are trying to get more freedom and assert their independence.

However, when the parents are queried on what actions they have taken to address this problem, they just shrug and say it is a phase that their teenagers are going through. The parents are being patient and hope it gets better once the teenagers have moved on leaving the difficult phase behind.

Parent’s role and actions

After a long discussion, everyone agreed that as long as the teenagers are living with their parents, they have to abide by the rules set out by the parents. The parents can let go, i.e. give more freedom once the teenagers show that they are responsible and can be trusted. This is expected to be a gradual and on-going process.

Another thing the parents need to do is talk openly to their teenagers about their expectations. Parents are there to give advice, emotional support, guidance, unconditional love, share their wisdom, etc. with their teenagers. Their teenagers will surely encounter problems relating to school, friendship, personal development, romantic relationship, etc. The parents must tell their teenagers what is expected of them as mentioned earlier regarding the parent’s expectations.

The parent’s responsibilities are very heavy and above all, they also need to provide a loving home that gives the teenager safety, structure and protection as they go through the complicated years of adolescence.