4 Eye-Opening Tips to Improve Your Relationship With Your Teen

Summer is upon us! Teens may view these lazy summer months as a time to do whatever they want and possibly push the limits of their independence. More free time along with having another school year under their belts may prompt them towards some acts of rebellion.

Whether you decide to give them a little more freedom or not, it's important for parents to make smart steps to maintain control. If you are looking for help on how to improve your relationship with your teen by understanding teens, look no further. We've compiled a four-step guide, which will leave you with a grasp on teen parenting like a pro!

  1. Remember how you felt when you were a teenager.  Think back to when your mother had to repeatedly ask you to clean your bedroom or when your father told you that you were still too young to date. In this department, things haven't changed much. Teens still want to assert their independence and make decisions for themselves, just like you most likely wanted to do at their age.  The major difference is that these days, schools are teaching kids at a young age how to make their feelings heard and that they should think for themselves.  While those are great traits to have, when teenagers try these techniques with parents, it makes it difficult to help them understand when they should and shouldn't assert their new found independence.

  2. Read up on what the current peer pressures are that teens face.  While some things haven't changed much, peer pressure is a much more prominent issue than it used to be.  There are many more drugs out there as well as flavored alcohol that appeals to a younger audience.  While you may have been pressured to try things that you knew were wrong when you were a teen, these days the need to fit in is much stronger, mostly due to the increase in bullying. Because children are encouraged to assert themselves these days, they have been inappropriately testing the waters with their peers.  This has thus initiated a trend of bullying and the children being bullied are learning that anything that bothers them shouldn't be tolerated.  While bullying is definitely a huge issue, at home children need to learn how to deal with punishment and chores that they don't approve of.

  3. Learn how today's culture influences teenagers.  Things such as music and television shows play a huge role in what teens think about and what they determine as normal.  Since these pop culture trends are often difficult to live up to, many teenagers feel that they aren't good enough.  These trends are also becoming much more inappropriate and based on rebelling.  Thus, children are learning at a young age that it is perfectly acceptable to act they way that their less than stellar role models are acting.

  4. Think about how your actions look to teens.  Teens tend to look at the actions of their parents when determining right from wrong.  While you may feel that your behavior is appropriate - after all, you are an adult - a teen may look at your behavior and think that because it's okay for you to do it's okay for them to do as well.  As a parent, you have the responsibility to act as a positive role model for your teenager.  If you drink alcohol or smoke, they are learning that those are perfectly acceptable things to do. If you spend all of your time online or use social media inappropriately, teens will be sure to follow suit.

By paying attention to these four steps and taking on the task of trying to understand your teen, you'll be on your way to raising a well-adjusted teenager. While there have been many changes in society over the past ten to twenty years, the underlying issues remain the same. 

If you aren't sure how to handle a tough situation with your teenager, just think about what would have been most effective when you were their age. This will most likely give you a basis to start with for how to react. Employ a parental intelligence tool as a precaution to make sure that you are in-the-know about what your teens are doing (or planning to do) all summer.

Comment below to share a time when you either reacted well or poorly to testy teen behaviors!

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