Raising teenagers can be challenging. Many teens are not only moody and volatile, and some may even struggle with depression and anxiety. Parents often find their teenager will withdraw from them if they are struggling with a mental illness. When teens are reluctant to share their thoughts and feelings, parents may worry about how they can support their teen effectively.
Although raising teenagers is challenging, you can take some practical measures to ensure your teens are happy and healthy and help you navigate the challenging teen years effectively.
1. Trust your teens.
Parents spend years answering their kids’ “why” questions. It’s natural to explain things to your teenagers, but what teenagers need are parents who listen. When your teen knows they can talk to you without fear, judgment, or ridicule, they will be more likely to open up to you about what’s going on, and what they’re up to when they’re not home.
Create a “no questions asked” policy about parties. Instead of imposing rigid expectations, make it clear your teen can call you any time, from anywhere, and you’ll come to pick them up. If your teen made a mistake by drinking at a party, you could prevent them from compounding that mistake by driving or allowing another intoxicated person to drive them home.
Provide resources to ensure your teen makes the safest decisions possible. Two out of every five high school students have had sex. Providing your teen with condoms can help prevent teen pregnancy and keep your teen from contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
2. Promote healthy activities
Encourage your teen to engage in activities they enjoy that are beneficial for them. Pay for them to take art or photography classes or sign them up for a sports league. Find out about school clubs and encourage them to join. Joining clubs is a good way for teens to meet others with similar interests. Make sure the activities interest your teen so they will actually enjoy them.
There are also activities you can promote at home. Gardening is a beneficial activity that can be done year-round with the right supplies. Gardeners are physically active, and they learn to care for living plants. They also feel a sense of pride when they produce beautiful plants or produce they can eat.
If your teen enjoys photography, offer to drive them to locations where they can take pictures. Get their photos printed and framed and display them in your home. This is an effective way of supporting your teen’s interests and showing them you’re proud of their accomplishments, which can help boost their self-esteem.
3. Provide essential resources
Pay attention to your teen’s interests and use holidays and birthdays to invest in those interests. For example, if you have a teen who loves golf, you can support their hobby by buying them a toe up putter. Edel Golf’s custom putters are designed to reduce torque, which keeps the shaft from twisting when the user swings and improves their shot quality.
When your teen has the equipment to pursue their interests, they will be more likely to join clubs and enjoy their hobbies. Engaging in enjoyable activities can help reduce stress and boredom, which will reduce the chances your teen will smoke, drink, or do drugs.
4. Support self discovery
Teenagers are determining who they are and what they want from life. They are establishing their priorities and beliefs.
Support their journey and encourage them to ask questions and learn. If your teen is curious about Christianity, get them an NASB study Bible. Study Bibles contain indexes and supplemental material that makes it easy to locate specific Bible verses and understand Christian beliefs. This is an effective way of encouraging your teen to seek answers to their questions about Christianity and the meaning of life
Offer to drive your teen to a local church, mosque, or temple to learn about different faiths. If you’re willing to let them explore their beliefs, they will be more likely to discuss their views and make informed choices.
5. Boost their self-esteem
Many teenagers struggle with low self-esteem. Try to boost their confidence by teaching them how to believe in themselves and the power of positive thinking.
Be sure to make a note of what your teen does well and any progress they make. Thank your teen when they remember to clean their room. Compliment them when their grades improve. Providing unconditional love and support will help reinforce your teen’s sense of self-worth and reduce the likelihood they’ll engage in high-risk behaviors, which can help keep them happy and healthy through their teen years.