Parenting during the teenage years can easily place strain on your relationship with your teen, your spouse, and yourself. At times it can be very frustrating trying to connect closely with your busy teen, and determine with certainty what they need from you in order to grow and thrive. Teenagers go through some intense hormonal and emotional changes during adolescent development, and it may become more difficult for them to communicate, or even identify what they need from their parents.
According to the faith-based parenting blog, For Every Mom, here are four of the most important things that your teen needs from you as a parent, whether or not they express these needs effectively, or at all.
- A steadfast example of how to truly live out important values and morals
Despite their actions of budding independence, your teen needs you to model successful adulthood for them. As a parent, it is incredibly important that you use your own life and experiences to openly showcase all the values, morals, and guiding principles you are striving to teach your teen. This does not mean that you must live in perfection, but your teen needs to see real-life examples of the things you say and teach them.
- An abundance of encouragement
Teenagers are going to assert their independence as they flourish, but they will also inevitably fail, falter, or make the wrong decisions at times. Your role as a parent is to help guide your teen, and prepare them for everything adulthood has in store, both good and bad. For this reason, it is important to focus on providing your teen an abundance of encouragement, whether they’ve done something well, are learning something new, or have failed at something. Teens also need corrections to their behavior during times that they’ve broken rules or placed themselves in negative, unhealthy, or dangerous situations. However, it is valuable for teens to feel supported, loved, and encouraged across all facets of your parenting.
- A willingness to talk openly about difficult or confusing subjects without judgement
As a parent, you are equipped with a natural instinct to protect your teen against harm, hurt, or pain. However, while you can endeavor to shield and protect your teen, they may already have at least second hand exposure to situations in their life they should avoid to stay safe and healthy. This is why it is important to talk to your teens about topics such as alcohol, drugs, and sex. While it may be uncomfortable for both you and your teen, it will ultimately help them make better choices in their life if they understand the risks and consequences with clarity and know your thoughts and expectations of them as well.
Teens are under a tremendous amount of pressure, and many struggle with depression as a result. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, a 2014 study revealed that 11.4 percent of teens have experienced at least one major depressive episode. Knowing they can talk with you about harder subjects can safeguard your teen against mental health issues and keep them emotionally strong as well.
- Clearly outlined boundaries that are enforced with consistency
Even though they may object through outbursts or rebellion, teens need a strong sense of their boundaries and what is expected of them. It is important for you to create guiding principles and rules that will help positively shape your teen’s life, and always enforce them with consistency. According to Focus on the Family, teens not only need, but want healthy boundaries to help guide them. Boundaries also help show teens that the adults they respect care deeply for their health and well-being, which is the type of relationship teens need and desire with their parents.
If you are struggling to connect with your teenager, and fear their mental, emotional, or physical health may be at risk, then speaking with a professional teen counselor can be very beneficial to your teenager and your family.