Monday, January 30, 2012

How to Help Your Teen

As we watch our teens struggle through their challenges, we as parents want nothing more than to jump in and fix everything. We want to help them. We love them. But this is where it gets really tough. Even though intervening on their behalf may be a relief and solution to the current problem, we know in our hearts that to do that is not really helping them in the long run.

The teen years are a time of transition from childhood to adulthood. They are a time for our children to learn and fine tune the skills they need to enter adulthood prepared to create a life that will be happy and fulfilling. Anytime we interfere and handle their problems we are robbing them of an opportunity to gain these necessary skills and confidence in themselves.

As hard is it might be to resist making their pain go away, that is truly the most loving thing we can do.

Being a successful parent raising a teenager requires us to shift our role to one more like a coach on the sidelines. We need to have faith in what we have taught them in the first 10 to 12 years of life and learn to let them go little by little, letting them stand on their own finding their own ground. This is the only way they will be able to become successfully independent.

There are important life lessons to be learned during the teen years that will be with them for the rest of their lives. Problem solving is probably the most important one.

That doesn't mean they no longer need us. It means they just need us in a different way. Often I hear parents complaining about how difficult it is being a parent. Typically they are in conflict with their teens because parents are trying to exert themselves into their child's life and instinctively their child knows they need to and can do it for themselves.

What we can do is to be sure they know we are there for them and beside them ready to support and guide and offer unconditional love. The key is to promote healthy communication and allow them to decide and choose when they need us. All we have to do is leave the door open, be ready to listen and prepared to offer guidance when asked!

The piece of advice my mothered shared with me concerning the teen years (she raised 5 of us!) was the best advice I have heard to date...she said,"Parents who are willing to take a few steps back, hold their tongue and be ready at a moment's notice to offer a warm hug, attentive ear or safe shoulder to cry on will weather the teen years and come out with a stronger relationship than they began with."

Denny Hagel is the founder of Awakened Parenting LLC, a company dedicated to providing parents with the tools and skills to raise their children the way Nature intended it to be. She is the author of Mini-Me Syndrome and The Missing Secret To Parenting. She is a Children's Advocate and Parenting Coach. In addition Denny is raising and home schooling her two grandchildren. FREE e-Book "Becoming an Awakened Parent"