7 Tips For Dealing With Teenagers

Updated October 10, 2022 by ReGain Editorial Team

The teenage years are not usually what parents are looking forward to. Most people associate teenagers with crazy hormones and bad attitudes. But there are a lot of great things that come along with it as well. Your child is entering a new stage of life and preparing for adulthood. They are growing into the person they're going to be, which can be fun to see even if it's somewhat challenging. To make the most out of these last years you have before your child becomes an adult, here are seven tips to help you with dealing with teenagers.

1. Remember That Challenges Have Changed for Teenagers

Yes, teenagers still have some of the same challenges that the age group has had for centuries. Things like acne, hormones, trying to fit in, and wondering if that boy or girl is interested in them. But technology has brought with it a whole new set of challenges for teenagers, and with it has come increased levels of anxiety and depression.

With to social media, teens are always under the stress of looking right and saying the right things in front of peers, along with the constant fear of judgment. And, it's a complicated situation because removing them from social media altogether also causes them stress and anxiety.

2. Look for What You Have in Common

Parenting Is Never Easy

Being a teenager is hard. Many feel that their parents don't understand them and that they have nothing in common. It can help you connect with your teenager if you look for things that you have in common. It could be something as simple as sports, music, or a certain type of food. Once you've discovered the things that you have in common, make time to enjoy whatever it is together. Find events that you can go to together, shows you can watch, or even just the latest news about it so you can talk about it.

3. Remember To Listen Without Judging

It can be frustrating when you're trying to talk to your teenager about specific topics. They don't always have the best communication skills, and they don't always care to hear what you have to say. But you must let your teenager know that you are available to listen if they need someone to talk to.

But, here's the most essential part of listening to your teen. You must make sure that you listen openly without judging. If you constantly criticize them, insult them, or tell them why they're wrong about what they're telling you, then they aren't going to keep coming to you. Before giving advice, ask them if they want your opinion.

This is a fine line to walk because you're their parent, so it's still your job to guide them and correct them when necessary, but they are also reaching an age where they must be learning how to think and process through things on their own.

4. Teach Them Life Skills

When dealing with teenagers, it's important to remember that this is your time to be teaching them what they need to know to be successful. Stop doing everything for them and, instead, teach them how to do things on their own. Teach them how to cook, create a budget, do laundry, and clean a house. You can teach them how to check the oil in a car and call to make a doctor's appointment.

It's not that you need to quit doing anything for your teenager, but you want them to be learning how to be a successful adult. They need to have life skills, so when they hit 18 and are ready to fly the coop, you don't have to worry that they don't know what to do. And, with each new skill that they learn and master on their own, they will continue to build confidence in their abilities. Self-confidence goes a long way in fighting against things like anxiety and depression.

5. Start to Give Them More Freedom

If you've been raising these children for years, then you're used to setting rules for them. But as they mature through the teen years, you must start to give them more freedom and fewer rules. This doesn't mean that you back off entirely and let them have complete control. But it does mean that you need to find that balance between establishing the rules that need to be in place still for their safety along with allowing them to have control and decision-making power in the other areas.

It's a two-part system:

  1. Set age-appropriate rules. Make sure that you are discussing them with your teenager instead of simply telling them what the rules are. The dynamic must begin to shift in your relationship to show that you understand they are no longer a small child.
  2. Allow them to make any other decision. That might sound extreme. But remember, by setting the age-appropriate rules, you have set the parameters that they need to stick within. The things that are important for their safety and well-being are handled through part one.

6. Allow Them to Make Mistakes And Fail

One of the toughest things as a parent is seeing your children fail at something. You don't want them to feel any of those painful emotions. You don't want them to be embarrassed, frustrated, or to struggle. But if you continually bail them out and do things for them, so they don't fail or make mistakes, they'll never learn how to succeed on their own.

With the ever-growing problem of anxiety and depression around the world, your teenagers must learn that they aren't going to get it right every single time. They need to learn that perfection isn't something to strive for. If they think that things always must be perfect for them to be acceptable, then it can lead them to mental health challenges and low self-esteem. However, if they learn that failing is part of life and it's OK because they can try again, it will help them to build real confidence in themselves and their abilities.

7. Celebrate Who They Are

The teen years are a difficult time of trying to find out exactly who you are. Many also struggle during this time because they're trying to figure out who to fit in with others. A part of healthy self-esteem is knowing who you are, including your imperfections and quirks, and being OK with them.

If you are continually trying to correct your teenager and turn them into something or someone else, you're going to hurt them. But if you celebrate the person that they are, they will have a much easier time learning how to love that person as well. Teach them that the difference in each person, including them, are important and part of what makes the world successful and unique.

Warning Signs to Watch For

Some levels of anxiety are normal for everyone, including teenagers. But the number of teens experiencing unhealthy anxiety and stress along with depression is alarming.

There are plenty of treatment options to help teens with mental health challenges. But the Child Mind Institute has found that the majority of children that could be diagnosed are not getting the treatment that they need. Here are some signs to watch for that indicate you should help your teen in seeking treatment options:

  • Lower than normal energy
  • Change in sleeping habits (too much or not enough)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Not caring about hygiene or physical appearance.
  • Loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
  • A decrease in performance at school, work, or sports
  • Angry outbursts, irritability, or easily frustrated
  • Withdrawal from social interactions

If you notice these signs, it's time to start a conversation with your teenager and can be helpful to make an appointment with a mental health professional. And remember to trust your parental instincts. You may have a feeling that something is not right with your teenager, even if you don't know exactly what it is and don't notice the signs above. Don't ignore those feelings and suspicions. It's better to act on it and talk to your teen then to ignore it and find out later that there is a serious problem.

Talking to A Therapist

Parenting Is Never Easy

Raising a child of any age is challenging. When they hit the teenage years, you must adjust to a whole new set of challenges. This can be a trying time for you as well. If you're struggling with your stress and anxiety levels as you parent your children, don't be afraid to reach out to a therapist. ReGain has online therapists that can help you with your family relationships and your mental health.

Remember, your children, including teenagers, are watching you see what you do. If you reach out for help when you need it, you set the example for them that it's OK to get help and that therapy is a good thing.

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