Having teenagers is one of the hardest periods of parenting. We’ve all been through puberty and know very well that alongside not having a clue what’s happening to your body and hormones, you also don’t want to listen to anyone’s advice. But that doesn’t mean you should leave them to fend on their own, and here’s how to help them get through high school both with good grades and good social life.
Be present without smothering them
Teens need their space away from everyone and it’s perfectly normal for “Leave me alone” to become a staple in their dictionary. However, saying that they want to be left alone doesn’t always mean that’s what they really want. Don’t intrude in their privacy, but make sure they always know that you’re there if they need you. A good way to establish this dynamic is to have some one-on-one time with them regularly where you will share some of your hardships and encourage them to share theirs. Remember that you can’t gain trust if you don’t give it out first, so treat them as your equal and talk like adults.
Let them choose their interests
We all have different interests in life, and while one child might be completely in love with mathematics and physics, another might be an artist and drawn to dancing or painting. The best thing you can do for your child is to make as many activities as you can available to them so that they can try their hand at different things, and then let them decide what they want to devote most of their time to. Of course, grades are a worry for many parents, and that is completely valid. You can help them out by providing them with HSC chemistry notes and similar aids that will help motivate them and make studying easier. In high school, your kid is old enough to understand the consequences of their actions. If they want to devote their life to literature, that’s fine – but if they fail maths, they won’t get into the college they want to study said literature.
Don’t neglect mental health
Teens go through a lot, and telling them that their mental health issues aren’t a big deal or that they are just acting out and asking for attention is not helping. In fact, it’s making it worse and it’s distancing you from your child. If the teachers in school tell you that they’ve been distant in class, that they’re not getting along with their friends or that their grades are getting rapidly worse, you shouldn’t try to quick-fix the issue, but dig deep with them and get them the help that they need. Maybe their grades are failing because they feel inadequate and their self-confidence is extremely low: you hiring a private tutor instead of talking to them will only make it worse.
Parenting isn’t an easy job and newborns don’t come with parenting manuals. If you want to do the best possible job, you need to educate yourself as much as you can. Just because you’ve been through their ages doesn’t mean that they are feeling the same feelings and going through the same things. There are some amazing parenting books available today that will help you be the best possible support to your child and make sure that both of you smoothly get through their adolescence.
Most importantly, remember not to lose yourself. Kids look up to their parents, and as Dana Suchow says, you need to be completely yourself, so that your children feel safe to be themselves too. You matter in this relationship just as much as your child, so make sure you two are a team and working together.