Children could be a handful and many times we can’t wait until they grow up. At least they won’t have to be fed, carried or bed wet as they used to.
After some years, you begin to notice the growth spurts in your child. Ah! You feel some rush of adrenaline. Your little boy or girl is growing. But these physical changes are also accompanied by a lot of emotional and behavioural changes.
At this stage your son or daughter is in transition. He’s not quite a child nor quite an adult. You may even begin to wonder where that sweet child of yours is. In an attempt to prove they are all grown, he or she can become daring, disrespectful and do things that are outright dangerous or irresponsible. Again they want to push their limits and test their boundaries. You will observe that in the title of this article I used the word “navigating ” I had other choices such as “coping “. But the word navigating makes the teenage years look more like a journey while coping makes it sound like something to be endured. I believe our attitude as parents can make or mar the period for us and our teenagers. Once you see that period as one in which there will be chaos and rebellion ..with your child, your actions will likely be ….
At this time, you need to listen more. I dare say for most people, this is a very difficult skill. Most people will rather talk than listen. But if your teen knows you’re listening to him, it is more likely that he will likely listen more. For him it is important that you treat him with respect and one of the best ways to do this is to listen. Don’t get me wrong, listening to them does not mean you have to tag along with their whims and do everything they want. . What it does is to show that you acknowledge him as a rational being who is entitled to his own views. The advantage of listening to him is that when it is time for you to talk, he also will feel more obliged to listen. Ensure that you do not always talk down at them. Be honest and open in your conversation with them.
Never try to create an impression of an infallible parent to them because you are not. And they will find out soon enough. Be sure that when they do find out, they will lose the respect they have for you. Own up when you make mistakes and apologise when you are wrong. Letting your child know that you have your areas of struggle makes you more real. But don’t stop at that, let them see that you are making efforts to overcome in those areas. It serves as an encouragement for them to also admit or own up to their.own personal struggles and do their best to work towards a change.
Be a model of the virtues you want your teenager to replicate. It is lack of integrity to demand a behaviour from your child while you exhibit exactly the opposite.
Be a parent. What this means is that you must be firm when need be. Don’t dance to your child’s tune. Set boundaries and insist that they are kept. If you want your child to always be happy with you then something is probably wrong.
Show your child unconditional love. Love that does not depend on whether he performs or meets your expectations. This is tough but with God’s help and your determination, it is possible.
Don’t always come to your child’s rescue. When he does something wrong it is better to allow him face the consequences of his actions rather than bail him out. It is better the child learns this early enough and know that he will have to take responsibility for all of his actions. Don’t leave the child all alone let him still know you care and can always find a support in you. Even when we fail God He chastises us but also picks us up and showers His love on us such that we can continue our walk with Him.
You may need to seek the help of a a friend, counsellor or some other professionals in certain cases that you are unable to handle. Don’t feel ashamed to seek help. Truth is we all have our areas of struggle.
To your parenting success.
A mother,teacher,administrator, counselor and author. She is passionate about helping parents raise godly children in Christian homes.