What comes to mind when you think about teenagers?
When I ask parents this question, rarely do they highlight the positive aspects of the teen years. These are the most common answers I hear:
- Growing up too fast
This is probably because the teen years can be difficult! Parents feel exhausted from providing never-ending reminders, oversight, and attention. Many find themselves jaw-clenched and worried as their teens walk the tightrope between childhood and adulthood, often taking dangerous risks or making scary mistakes. Some feel the teen years are new and unfamiliar territory, so they constantly question if they are providing their teen the “right” support.
Parenting teens is complex because teens are complex!
Compared with a child or tween, your teenage daughter has very different needs. In order to meet those needs and ease the tidal waves that are inherent during the teen years, teens require a new kind of parenting.
When you gain a deeper insight into your teen’s world and learn strategies that make communication easier, things begin to change. Your teen will open up more, trusting that you understand and accept her. When you know how to balance supporting your teen’s budding independence and making important decisions for her, she will become more receptive and responsible. When you find ways to comfortably loosen the grip and allow your teen to make decisions and mistakes on her own, she gains wisdom that will last a lifetime.
How to adapt to parenting teens?
These parenting shifts are essential during the teen years, but they aren’t always easy. Working with a parent-coach can help you get there. You gain a perspective that is simply inaccessible when you are in the thick of things with your teen. A coach helps you develop an awareness of your teen that allows you to be clear, calm, and effective. You gain a new set of parenting tools that help you meet your teen’s unique needs and support her in reaching her highest potential.
A few of my favorite tips for parenting teens include:
- Honor your teen’s inner qualities often. This strengthens her sense of self and demonstrates to her that you see her for who she is, more than what she does.
- Ask open-ended questions that inspire her to draw her own conclusions and deepen her understanding of herself and others. A few examples include: What do you think about…? What are you telling yourself about this situation? What do you think it is like for the other person?
- Look for opportunities to let go. Allowing your teen to make decisions for herself and deal with the outcome fosters a sense of competence and responsibility.
Consider how you benefit when your teen works with a coach:
- Improved communication and connection between you and your daughter, because she will have a more positive attitude.
- Less worry! Coaching promotes healthy decision making and lowers the likelihood of risky teen behavior.
- Relief in knowing your daughter is confiding in a trained and trusted adult who will keep her on track and support her in clarifying and achieving her goals.
- Additional parental support from someone who is skilled at having difficult conversations with your daughter about topics that may make you uncomfortable.
- Knowing that as your daughter embraces her independence, she is in a safe environment where she is being held accountable for her choices.
- Assurance that you are helping your daughter become more responsible by providing her another venue to understand the impact her choices have on her future.