You Cool Enough for Your Teens?
Cool! … that elusive, sought-after compliment parents long for from their teenage children. When they’re little, ‘dad jokes’ evoke fits of laughter, mom’s fashion sense is admired no matter what. Then, suddenly, kids enter their teens and the dynamic shifts.
With today’s skyrocketing online technology, it’s no mystery why teens are more informed than ever before. However, information is no substitute for experience. Teens still need guidance from their parents. Ironically, perhaps more so now than ever before.
Moms and dads who strike the right balance between being a parent AND a friend are more likely to raise teens who open up and share their problems, desires, successes and failures. Remember, they’re your friends.
However, some parents believe that being a friend will lessen their teen’s respect for them. It won’t! Mutual respect is a prerequisite for friendship. And people who are there for each other emotionally, no matter what, are worthy of respect.
Teens instinctively know that. They respect parents who are relevant and present and who establish boundaries. They’ll probably not easily admit it, but boundaries make them feel secure, safe and, most importantly, loved. In fact, teens will often look to their parents to set limits they can’t set for themselves.
Not that they won’t push the boundaries, they will! It’s their job. Just as it’s the parents’ job to push back and say no. That’s their job. That’s relevance.
Also, parents who are present invariably earn their teen’s respect.
Even teens who don’t give a thought to their parents for 23 hours a day love the consistent acknowledgement of a goodnight embrace or a twenty-minute chat once they’re in bed.
Rebellion can rear its teenage head when parents refuse to admit that their babies are growing up and need more freedom. However, it’s always a good idea for parents to ask where their teens are off to, who they’re planning to be with, and set a time for their return. Parents need to encourage their teens to rely on them emotionally until they’re emotionally ready to depend on themselves.
Parents should be the ones watching their teens, cheering them on as they grow from school-going boys and girls into young adults making their way in a world of prolific opportunities. It’s not so much that parents aren’t cool, it’s that teens are so much cooler. As parents, it’s our job to let them know that.
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