Raising teenagers can be extremely satisfying and overwhelming at the same time. If you’re a parent with kids in their pre-teen years or even if you already have a teenager, it’s likely you’ve already given thought to how you’ll navigate the ups and downs of this important developmental period of a child’s life. The reality is, even the best parents with great intentions often find themselves perplexed when it comes to raising their teenagers. If you’re struggling with your teen or just need tips for how to get the adolescent in your life through this challenging time, read on for three important tips for raising teens.
1. Know when to call in the professionals.
It’s normal for teens to experience changes, fluctuations in moods, and even challenge authority. However, there are behavioral issues some teens exhibit that may be an indication of mental health issues. If you’re the parent of a young adult and you sense your adolescent needs help, it’s important to get mental health treatment immediately. Instead of trying to navigate it alone, getting your teen help in a supportive environment is the best way to show them you care and get support for yourself through a treatment team trained to help. If your teen is struggling with negative patterns or you suspect drug use, it’s important to consider residential treatment for teens where adolescent psychiatrists and treatment teams will be able to work with your child to address substance use disorder and other dangerous behaviors immediately. These teams provide a supportive environment and can help with family conflict through group therapy. They are trained to work with teenagers and give special care to teens in both their in and outpatient programs. Getting your teen help immediately will mean they get the coping skills they need to navigate issues like low self-esteem and mood disorders.
2. Honor traditions and roots.
Even if your teen resists it, traditions and honoring family roots and values are important to providing a sense of self and identity for your teen as they try to make sense of where they fit into the world. One way to connect a teen to their roots is to make it fun. For example, if your family’s Jewish, renting bat mitzvah games on special occasions from a party rental company can be a great way to remind them of their roots and ancestry without lecturing. No matter what the event or occasion, going the extra mile when it comes to making family functions enjoyable for teens will keep them more engaged.
3. Help your teen find their authentic self.
While family roots are important, being authentic is key, too. It’s normal for teens to try to define themselves as separate from the family. Helping them to find their voice at home and in the world is a great way to show your teen unconditional love and support. Do what you can to encourage them to explore their interests.
Having a passion for something gives a person purpose. Helping your teen to identify the hobbies and causes that matter most to them is a great way to improve self-esteem. At the end of the day, whether your teen has a mood disorder, is struggling with drug use, or is just trying to navigate the normal stages of the young adult years, being open and honest with your teenager is an important way to stay connected. As you raise your teen in their current environment and prepare them to take charge of their lives, it’s also important to be honest with yourself and get them the professional help they might need at the first sign of serious issues. Best of luck to you as you raise your teenager into a healthy young adult. While there will be challenges along the way, your child and your relationship with them is worth it.