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Our GoStudent Guide to Parenting Teenagers

Contents

  1. What are the most difficult teenage years?
  2. How can I be a better parent to my teenager?
  3. What are teenager parent problems?
  4. How do you discipline a difficult teenager?
  5. How does parenting affect teens?

 

It’s the day every parent dreads--your sweet, happy child starts talking back.

Suddenly they’re spending all their time on their phone, chatting with their friends, conversing only when they need money or want to know why the WiFi isn’t working. You officially have a teenager at home.

However, parenting teenagers doesn’t have to be all slammed doors and rolled eyes. It can be an opportunity to watch your child grow into their own person and assert their independence in a way they never have before.  We’re here with the best advice on parenting teenagers.

 

😣 What are the most difficult teenage years?

 

If it feels like your kid became a teenager awfully early, you’re not alone. Many parents believe that the pre-teen years, roughly ages 9-12, are actually worse than the teenage years! According to the NHS, the average age to start puberty for girls is 11, and for boys is 12. The sudden hormonal changes caused by puberty can make even the most easy-going child into a menace. However, there are plenty of teenage parenting tips to help you make it through this next stage in your child’s life

Additionally, it’s important during this time to recall how you felt going through puberty. Suddenly feeling like a stranger in your own body and unable to control its changes is a difficult phase for everyone. Outward physical changes, like growing breasts and body hair, a deepening voice, and acne can cause newfound insecurities and anxieties in your child. 

Remind your child that puberty is just a part of life and that it is nothing to be ashamed of. Create an environment where your child can come to you with questions and concerns about their changing body.

 

👪 How can I be a better parent to my teenager?

 

To be a better parent, you have to be the best version of yourself. That means taking time to look after yourself. When your child is distressed, your instinct may be to put all your energy into helping them, but that can just leave you feeling resentful, irritable, and way more likely to get into a screaming match about unfinished homework. 

Remember that your child’s newfound independence is a great thing for you, too- it means more time away from parenting tasks. Return to your favourite hobby you lost when you became a parent, or pick up a new one. Your kids don’t need a babysitter anymore, so allow yourself to go out more. 💃 Make some quality time for your partner and your friends.

Of course, we don’t mean abandoning parenting responsibilities altogether! You may not have to tie their shoes or tuck them into bed anymore, but your teenager still needs to feel your love and attention. Take an interest in your child’s interests and hobbies and use them as a way to spend quality time together. Teenagers and parents can still have fun together! 

Most importantly, have compassion and empathy. We all remember how difficult our own teenage years were, and your teenager needs you to get through them.

 

😦 What are teenager parent problems?

 

📱 Social Media and Teens 

Being a teenager today is harder than it was for previous generations. With the prevalence of social media, teenagers are constantly comparing themselves to their peers and worried about how others perceive them. When we were younger, we could go home and not worry about others judging us.

However, with apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, teenagers are constantly giving others a window into every aspect of their lives- and if they choose to not use social media, they risk social isolation. Social media has been proven to increase mental health issues in teens, such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.

As a parent, social media makes it harder to control what influences your teen, but there are plenty of great parenting tips for teenagers to help make it easier for you! For one, there are still ways to limit your child’s social media consumption. Collect everyone’s mobile phones and laptops at the end of the day and put them in a central place for the night, like the kitchen or living room. Delegate phone-free time during the day too, such as during mealtimes. Use the tools provided by your phone provider to limit how much time your child can spend on apps. 

📚 Academic Struggles

The pressures of secondary school, exams, and getting into university can be difficult for teenagers, and is often a scenario when you need teenager advice for parents more than ever! Your teen may also be way less interested in school than they were before, preferring to spend time with friends than studying. It’s important to remember that even if your child struggles in school now, it doesn’t mean they’re doomed to fail professionally!

If you are very worried about your child’s academic progress, talk with their teacher or school counsellor to see what you can do. Hiring a tutor is also a great way to help your child thrive. GoStudent has thousands of qualified tutors to help your teen gain their academic confidence and set them up for success. 

🍺 Drug & Alcohol Use

Teens have been sneaking around drinking and doing drugs for generations- maybe that even includes you when you were younger! Many adults remember a time from their youth of a party that got out of hand. But sometimes, those parties don’t turn into a funny story, and instead, turn into a tragic event, and the thought alone can have you desperate for help for parents of teenager.

Though you may want to lock your teen in the house every night, forbidding them from socialising can cause them to only want to rebel, causing friction among the family. Instead, be honest with your teen. 

Talk to them about the dangers of alcohol and drug use. Ensure your teen feels like they can come to you if things get out of hand, too. To prevent drunk driving, let your teen know they can call you at any time to get picked up from a party, no questions asked. Rather than using scare tactics, give your teen the facts- and let them know you trust them to make a good decision on their own.

💏 Sex

As a parent, you’re probably horrified at the idea of your teen having sex. However, it’s a natural part of life, and nothing for your teen (or anyone!) to be ashamed of. Your main priority should be making sure your teen’s health is protected. This is a perfect opportunity to enlist the help of your teen’s GP! 

Your teen is probably embarrassed at the idea of talking about sex with you, but a GP is well-equipped to have the conversation about contraceptives, STIs, and pregnancy (and much less embarrassed by the subject, too). 

That doesn’t mean you’re totally off the hook, though. As a parent, talk to your teen about consent, and the emotional aspects of sex. If your teen is LGBT+, make sure they have space to talk about who they are. Charity Just Like Us has resources for LGBT+ teens and can help both you and your teen better understand their identity. 

📞 Getting Help

As a parent, you may often feel like you’re alone when it comes to raising your teen, but we’re here to tell you you’re not. There is plenty of support for parents of a teenager!

If you’re worried your teen is struggling with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or other mental illnesses, it’s important to recruit the help of professionals. Your local GP can put you in touch with qualified counsellors and psychiatrists to determine a treatment plan. If you’re unsure where to start, the NHS has online resources to help you get your child the help they need. Young Minds, a youth mental health charity, is also a great resource for parents.

 

😠 How do you discipline a difficult teenager?

 

It may at times feel like your teen is completely out of your control. While your teen may have a newfound attitude, you are still in charge! Just as when your teen was a small child, you have to find what disciplines they respond to best

Charity Family Lives stresses that the most important thing to do is to have open and honest conversations with your teen. Like you would in conflict with any person you love, you want to make sure that you and your teen understand each other.

It’s also important to remember to pick and choose your battles. Your teen naturally craves independence and autonomy, so you need to decide what’s worth enforcing, and what’s worth letting go of. Remember too, when your teen pushes boundaries, it’s just part of how they are determining their place in the adult world. 

However, if you really feel like your teen’s angry outbursts and moods are out of control, this is another opportunity to seek the help of a GP or psychiatrist. Family counselling can also be a great way to determine the best ways for you and your teen to communicate healthily and effectively.

 

😌 How does parenting affect teens?

 

As a parent, all you’ve ever wanted is for your child to be happy, and it can be difficult to see your teen struggling. While they may seem to want nothing to do with you, your teen needs you more than ever. 

Teens are going through a lot of changes, and you probably remember how overwhelming that time was in your own life. Creating a home environment where your teen feels safe, accepted, and heard is essential to set them up for success later in life. This allows your teen to grow into adulthood feeling secure and supported. When teens feel respected and cared for by their parents, too, it can help ensure that your relationship with your child will not strain when they are adults out on their own. 

Raising a teenager is not easy, but there is plenty of support for parents of teenagers available. Remember--you’re not alone and you’ve totally got this. 

If you need some more help with managing your teen’s academic progress, GoStudent has thousands of tutors to help you with everything from the transition into secondary school to pre-university exams. Sign up for your free trial lesson today.

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