The transition from parenting a child to parenting a teenager is a huge one. The time and energy involved is not quite at the same level. During your toddler’s early years, prime focus was on feeding, bathing, buying new baby girl clothes and comforting the baby. After attaining teenage, children become more independent, yet require practical guidance and active involvement of parents in their day-to-day activities.
As the child grows, it is common for you as a parent to enroll them in many extra-curricular activities, or the child himself or herself could be interested in other arenas of excellence, along with the school curriculum. Hence, you require being the on-your-toe driver cum parent cum friend. Besides, you could also have a range of activities and work lined up for yourself. Managing all these areas without frustration and tiring out, requires a healthy and agile parent.
As the child attains puberty, he steps into the roller-coaster phase of life. There are times of emotional upheavals that need you to be there for him/ her, by his/ her side. The onset of puberty can involve feelings of insecurity brimming in the child’s mind. Without an exception, this is cause for worry to you and your spouse and well. Peer influences affect greatly at this age and it is of necessary importance to guide your child the right way, without coming across as a parent who is too stern or too naïve.
The social and emotional evolution occurring in a kid, are a concern for every parent. Mainly the emotional turmoil experienced in adolescence are a reason for their fears, rage, and reluctance to share their feelings with you. However, being the friend and lending an ear to their woes can go a long way.
Seemingly, pals and peers take a front seat in your child’s world during these changing years, but that in no way should come across as you having little or no importance to him. Parents still play a major role in a child’s life – and strong bonds with family and friends are vital for your child’s healthy social and emotional development.
Parenting teenagers should not mean no time for yourself, find the time
Parenting teenagers is indeed a tough job. It is essential to give time to take good care of yourself today as it was yesterday, when the child was a toddler. Physical and mental well-being gives you the patience and to make wiser judgments and deal better with any stress and conflicts that arise.
It is natural to find yourself juggling your child’s needs with your personal or household work and other commitments. This could leave you very little time to yourself, perhaps not even enough to grab a decent sleep. Here are some suggestions for finding some of that lost time in a busy family schedule.
Sharing household responsibilities is a good idea
If you have a partner or a spouse living with you and your child, sit down and have the talk regarding the contribution to work, done by both of you. Converse and communicate about how the household work can be managed between you, your partner, and your children. Giving your children more responsibility for small chores around the house, might be a good place to start with.
Negotiating with your child about chores allows them to come to terms and might help break down any resistance he has to the idea. For example, you could allow him to pick a couple of chores he would not mind doing. For example, she or he might be interested in cooking meals, washing dishes and iron clothes.
There are added advantages here that jobs are shared around more and thus decreasing the workload for you and teenagers get some practice of independent living.
Plan your family timetable
Not necessarily a roster timetable, but having a weekly family schedule might help you deal fairly with everyone’s commitments and also find that much required time for yourself. It can help you explain to your child, in a way that is understandable, that you need time for yourself too. This unabridged and undisturbed time will give you more energy and zeal to incorporate into the hours you spend with your little one.
You can also chalk out a weekly family schedule to divide time judiciously for household chores, like buying the groceries and cooking. Cooking during free hours, like on weekends, can alleviate the pressure off your head during busy weekdays.
See who can prove to be you support in parenting
Grandparents are actually friendly parents, more experienced and patient. Leaving the children with their good old friends could relieve you of some work for some time. Family and friends could also offer to do some social service by taking care of them while you free yourself to do some work or simply rest. This or organizing carpooling and supervision duties with other grown-ups parenting teenagers who accompany their children to the same activities as your child participates in. Besides the addition of a few extra hours to your week, this particular effort can also help in building new friendships and support networks.
Keeping your relationship strong with partner while parenting teenagers
For parents with partners and spouses, feeling satisfied in your relationship with your partner and feeling satisfied and confident with your parenting are proportional. Hence, nurturing your relationship with your partner helps to nurture your parenting ability as well.
Here are some suggestions from parents about keeping partner relationships strong while parenting teenagers:
- Converse aloud about your feelings and discuss experiences as the parents of a teenager.
- Shower affection, appreciation, and admiration for your partner.
- Find time to discuss your day with each other.
- Make time for just for the two of you every week. This could involve a variety of things – playing a common sport. Alternatively, cards or board games, taking a post-dinner walk together or catching up on a regular coffee date.
- Take a break for some fun experiences as a couple. If your child is old enough, spending the weekend at a friend’s house or at grandma’s will not be equivalent to a natural disaster.
- Spend a couple of times together at home. You could make reservations and have a special dinner at a favorite restaurant, rent a favorite movie together or play some music you both have ears for.
Staying healthy is the key to parenting
Your physical and mental health is a major factor that influences your ability to participate in family time-spending. However, physical and mental health does not just happen – you have to take care of it by yourself.
Be positive so that you act positive
Positivity is a boon as it helps wriggle out of many situations with ease. Getting annoyed by what your child said or did will get you nowhere. When you let go of trifle issues, you conserve energy for issues that are major such as your child’s safety and health.
Pat yourself when you prove to be a good parent
Small pep talks with one’s own self is a stress buster. Take some credit when your child does a good deed. For instance, if he helps someone out, pat your back for having given him sound moral education.
Family rituals can help the family bond in togetherness. A weekly Sunday dinner, religious ceremonies or regularly planned family outings, help the child feel comforted within the vicinity of the family. Regular family activities help teenagers feel less neglected and loved.
Physical activity is an essential component to be added to your daily routine. A meager 30 minutes of brisk walking, exercise or yoga per day keeps you physically and mentally healthy. When your child gets older, you could also refocus on a long left, but a favorite sport. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises also help relax the mind and body.