Parenting is a fulfilling role at the best of times. From the word go, you have a whole host of responsibilities on your plate, and these seemingly never stop, even when your children have grown into adults themselves!
To say that parenting styles change with the world around us would be something of a true statement. In the technological age that we find ourselves in, the parenting methods that we use will naturally differ from those used fifty years ago. At the same time, the issues and obstacles associated with parenthood will vary too.
Teenagers are notorious for rebelling against their parents. Wanting a certain level of independence while also being cared for undoubtedly causes logistical issues, but it is something we have all been through! While that is the case, you might have to overcome many different obstacles and problems as a parent of a teenager in this day and age, and that is where we come into the equation.
Below is a list of some obstacles you might face and some suggestions on how to tackle them. Get yourself comfortable and read on; rest assured, you will find something of value here.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Mental health is something that affects every single one of us. While some people might go through their lives without experiencing struggles with their mental well-being, others need support through tough times. With it estimated that one in eight children and young people have a diagnosable mental health condition, there is a strong chance this is something that you might find yourself facing as a parent.
While we recognise it will be challenging to address these situations, you can do things as a parent to navigate this process. Encouraging discourse and conversations surroundings emotions and how your child is feeling is recommended.
At the same time, it can be difficult to put emotions and feelings into words, particularly if you struggle to comprehend why you are feeling a certain way. Implementing resources and using different methods for expressing emotions is one way you can tackle these obstacles; this includes keeping a journal to detail on paper how your child is feeling or using art therapy.
Getting to the bottom of what might be contributing to these types of obstacles is also essential. This can include being bullied in school, having low self-esteem and other related factors.
Desire For Independence and Rebelling
Sneaking out to go to a friend’s house or party is something we have all done throughout our teenage years. Rebelling against your parents is a rite of passage as a teenager and appears more common amongst those with strict parents.
While this is stereotypically a normal part of being a teenager, you want to ensure that your children are safe while out and about and that you know where they are. Being open with your child and giving them a certain level of freedom will enable a level of trust between you to form, which could, in turn, encourage your child to be more open with you about their plans.
We understand that your child might find it tedious informing you of their whereabouts but reassuring them that this is standard practice and their friends will be doing the same will minimise any potential embarrassment.
At the same time, being able to contact your child at short notice is of the utmost importance. Mobile phones are becoming commonplace within schools and elsewhere; an estimated fifty per cent of children have a smartphone by the age of ten. This is not to say that you have to get your child the latest smartphone, although they might want that!
There is a wide variety of SIM only plans on the market, suited to various budgets and situations. You will be able to stay in contact with your child while giving them their freedom and space. What more could you want when creating a harmonious relationship?
Alcohol and Drug Use
As you get older, the temptation to experiment with alcohol and drugs increases. While this is something that you might feel concerned about, you can do things to ensure your child is safe. Engaging in conversation with your child about these types of subjects will make navigating this process a lot easier.
If your child has questions about experimenting with alcohol, ensure you answer them with as much clarity as possible. Making them aware of the effects of alcohol and how to stay safe when experimenting with alcohol is one of the best ways to navigate this process.
The same can be said for drug use. The pressure to experiment with these types of things increases in social situations and when with peers. This can be a frightening prospect as a parent, especially if you are confused about how best to navigate.
Being informed about what drugs are out there and their effects on the body is one of the best things you can do as a parent. Identify the signs that are commonplace with drug use; this can include the likes of sudden and regular mood changes, alongside secretive behaviour.
School and Education
Schooling and education are a big part of your child’s life. Ensuring they are managing okay with schoolwork and staying on top of things is paramount to their ongoing success, but this can be challenging like other aspects of your child’s life.
When struggling with schoolwork and how they are progressing, your child might feel inclined to hide this from you. Regularly talking to them about how they are getting on and getting involved with their homework will give you an idea of how they are getting on.
At the same time, you could contact your child’s school directly if you feel they are struggling but do not want to admit it. From here, you can put plans in place to support your child and get to the bottom of why they are struggling with their schoolwork. This can include the likes of hiring a tutor for your child and other lines of educational support.
Sex and Relationships
Being a teenager can be a confusing time. Experiencing changes to your body while also experiencing a whole host of hormones can be tricky. Add the prospect of getting a girlfriend or boyfriend into the equation, and you have a whole new kettle of fish.
You can expect your child to be taught sex education throughout their school curriculum. Understanding the importance of safe sex goes a long way, and there are responsibilities you have as a parent to contribute towards this education.
While your child might feel pressure to have a relationship in their teenage years – whether due to their peers or social media – make a conscious effort to reassure them this is not the case. Reiterate that your child should feel entirely comfortable with exploring this aspect of their adolescence, but to do so safely. Naturally, this can be a bit of an awkward conversation to have with your parents (we have all been there), but it should happen all the same.
While raising a teenager can be challenging at the best of times, you will undoubtedly be creating lifelong memories with your child too. Cherish the moments that you spend together while remembering that the arguments won’t last forever!