One day it happens: your sweet little child turns into a teenager. For many parents, the teenage years are the hardest. Your child has suddenly developed a mind of his own, and if you thought he tested boundaries as a two year old, you won’t believe the kind of boundary testing that goes on during the teenage years. Even though it may seem like your teenager has transformed into an entirely different species, teenagers are not as hard to navigate as it may seem. If you find yourself exclaiming, “Help with my teen!” you are in luck. As an experienced teen psychologist, I have an inside look into teenage behavior and have discovered these simple parenting strategies can help you get respect from your teenager.
Acknowledge His Wants
Just like when your child was a toddler, he simply wants to know he is being heard. Even if he will not get what he is asking for, if he understands that you know what he wants, but it is just not possible because of X, Y, Z, he will be more willing to actually listen to what you are telling him.
Negotiate When Necessary
If you really need your teenager to do something, try making him an offer. Do what you have to do first, then you can do what you want. “You can go to your friend’s party if you clean your room first.” With negotiating, you both get what you want and everybody wins.
Give Him Your Trust
You have spent your child’s entire life teaching him right from wrong; it is important that you give him a chance to prove that he has been listening. If you never let him do anything he wants in fear of him making the wrong choice, he will never have the opportunity to make you proud by making the right choice.
Pick Your Battles
When dealing with a teenager, it is all about using your energy where it matters and letting the small things go. If you fight with him over every little thing, it will just pull you further apart.
If you follow these simple tips, you will soon be saying, “Thanks for the help with my teen! We are now closer than ever!”
Dr. Lazarus is a teen psychologist in Littleton, CO. He specializes in working with teenagers and families to develop healthy relationships.