Parenting children who are only in the beginning of their teen years can be very challenging. They are no longer babies (as they will take no hesitation in telling you), but they are not quite morally or intellectually teenagers, and so are subject to the opinions of their peers and friends, who can negatively change them and make them miserable to have around. By following these simple tips, you can ensure your young teenage son or daughter is still, despite their age, a joy to have around the house as you travel through this troubling and interesting time.
Almost everyone likes structure. One way to eliminate disagreements between you and your child is to implement a firm, solid structure for their chores and weekdays. Though sometimes they may oppose having to complete some chores before being allowed to go out, particularly if their friends do not, the structure should be habitual enough that they will be willing to do the work anyway.
Learn to read their cues to indicate when they need to be independent, and when they need your help. Some teenagers, even in their early teen-hood, are fiercely independent and refuse help from anyone. However, there are many who will still require help from their parents and be unsure of when this will be or how to ask for help. By keeping open communication between the two of you as often as possible, you can encourage them to ask you for help when they need it.
Give them small tasks that they can use to foster independence. Giving them the responsibility of a cell phone, for example–if they maintain a certain GPA, and you take the phone away if the GPA drops–can teach them to be responsible and independent, which will then transfer to other aspects of their lives.
Do not smother them or treat them as if they are still children. Though this can be difficult, particularly for parents who have never before raised teenage children, it is best for them in the long run.
Make sure you have some time every year where you take them way from their friends and take them on a family-only vacation or other experience. Teenagers are often influenced by their friends so much they lose a sense of who they really are. By taking them out of a peer-influenced environment, you remind them of who they are.
Do not discount a teenager’s feelings about how hard life actually is. Though they may complain often about thing you think are trivial, do not forget that you, too, once thought of your life a being overly-difficult, though it really may not have been. Know that they simply have not had all the experience you have had, and that is what clouds their judgement.
Raising a young teenager can be tough. They are sometimes adults and sometimes children, and that is a difficult time for any parent. But if you follow these simple tips, you should be able to raise a child who is still a pleasure to have around the house, despite their troubling age.