When your teenager is in high school, it can present unique parenting challenges that you may not be prepared for. You might feel as though your teenager has changed, and it can be challenging to have the same kind of relationship you had when they were younger. It is easy to make mistakes along the way; in fact, here are some parenting mistakes you might be making that can make things even more of a challenge for you and your child.
Not Having Any Rules
If you are like some parents, you might be very lax about the behavior your teenager displays. You might allow them to spend multiple nights over their friends' homes, you might allow them to stay up as late as they like and you may even allow them to drink wine or champagne on the holidays.
However, as their parent, it is crucial that you establish rules in your home and make sure your high-schooler knows about them. You might not want to be too strict, but rules actually provide structure and push your child to make better decisions. It is up to you and your spouse to determine which rules are appropriate for your family; you might not allow dating or certain types of clothing, for instance.
Not Respecting Their Need for Freedom and New Experiences
On the other hand, you should also allow your teenager some freedom. Whether they want to accompany a friend's family to a city you don't feel is safe or they express interest in going into the armed services, it is natural that you feel at least a tinge of concern about their safety and well-being. In fact, you might try to talk them out of it and suggest safer alternatives.
However, it is important to remember that your teenager is their own person. They have wants and goals that may not suit yours. While you are certainly entitled to fret about them, restricting their activities to those you feel comfortable with doesn't allow them to grow as people and doesn't teach you to trust their decision-making skills. Certainly express your concerns, but do your best to truly listen to what your child hopes to get out of the experience. If you realize that your fear is guiding your decision, try to see things from their point of view. Make every effort to help them be as safe as possible and then allow them to move forward.
Now that you have an idea of the kinds of mistakes you may be making with your teenager, use the advice above to help make things better. Click here for info about a good family or parenting therapist who can offer professional advice that can help your family.