1. Cultivate Communication
Your teenager is at a sensitive period in life and may be unable to express and share their journey with you. Do not wait for them to open up to you. Reach out to them and create a safe environment where they can speak their minds, ask questions, and be receptive to advice.
Making them feel like their voice doesn't matter will send the wrong message that you don’t value them as a person. This will lead them to seek their validity elsewhere. Remember to be firm with your words and consistent with your principles.
2. Respect Their World
They may still be children, but they are experiencing many things for the first time. Do not add to their confusion by providing baseless information and unnecessary rules. Instead, learn to respect their personal space and allow them to form their own opinions, learn from their mistakes, and realise that there’s a smart and better way of doing things. Many teenagers feel insecure and are prone to peer pressure. Gently guiding them while respecting their individuality is an excellent way to win their trust and obedience.
3. Set Boundaries
Some teenagers test the extent of their capability, causing them to do unwise, even self-destructive things - from cutting classes to bullying or trying an illicit substance. While allowing them to explore and learn is important, tethering them to keep them from ruining their future is your responsibility as a parent or guardian. Setting boundaries and consequences can help train them to become responsible as teenagers, preparing them to be responsible and productive adults.
4. Discipline With Love
Some teenagers feel powerful when they break the rules and go against the tide, it is important to remind them of the consequences and not let them off the hook easily. But as you do so, do not lose your cool and give away your power to control your emotions. Apart from setting a bad example, being angry and antagonistic will only push them further away from you and create a chasm between the two of you. Do not add to the generation gap by building a wall of misunderstanding.
Always explain why you are saying no to a request and why they should follow your rules, patiently and lovingly.
5. Show Empathy
Teenagers often feel misunderstood. Before reacting to their headstrong stance, remember that you were a teenager once wanting your own way. It would be best to show empathy to them before telling them the best way to do things. They will appreciate your advice more when they learn that you understand where they’re coming from based on your shared experience.
Peppering your sound advice with humor can also help relieve tension and create a more open and engaging relationship.