Parenting, as it is, is already a tough job and not for the faint of heart. Now, parenting teenagers? It’s an entirely different ballgame!
Teenage years, also known as puberty, is one of the most overwhelming and frustrating times for both parents and kids. The changes they go through — physically, psychologically, and emotionally — will throw you off balance a lot. It is around this time that you discover that you have an alien (sort of) living under your roof. You have come a long way from having conversations about candies and toys to talking about lip fillers, Botox, and even sex — you know, all the adult stuff they might be interested in when they grow much older.
10 Commandments for Dads Raising Teenagers
To help ease the burden on your shoulders and relieve you of some stress, here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when it comes to raising teenagers.
Commandment #1: Do not forget that the teenage years are transitional
The keyword here is transitional. It’s a phase that will pass. So even if it seems that two people are living in one body, your teenager will outgrow all the confusion once they discover who they really are and learn to embrace the identity that will come out of this phase.
Commandment #2: Remember that you are a parent first, friend second
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a buddy to your kid, but you need to establish healthy boundaries with them. Anybody can be their friend, but you have the privilege of being both friend and parent to them. Don’t waste it.
Commandment #3: Always encourage open communication
Communication is key to a good relationship, including your relationship with your teen. They might seem more recluse during this stage but never let this be a hindrance to keeping the channels of communication open.
Commandment #4: Pick your battles
If you’ve ever lived with a teenager — as an adult, that is — you would think that you’ve entered a war zone and are fighting a losing battle all the time. You need to learn to choose which battles to fight. Don’t take on everything or else you won’t make it out of the battlefield in one piece.
You also need to remember that while you may feel you’re duking it out with your kid, they are also struggling with all the changes that are taking place in their lives. They are fighting the same battle as you are, only, they’re dealing with it on the inside.
Commandment #5: Criticize less, empower more
It has been found that among married couples, it takes five positive words to counter a negative one. This is true not just for couples but for all relationships. Teenagers may not show it, but they want you to praise and compliment them. While this should not get in the way of correction and discipline, as dads, we should be our children’s number one fan and supporter.
Commandment #6: Set their moral compass right
We live in a world where things seem to be falling apart morally. Of course, morals are completely subjective and are based on a person’s belief system and values. However, we still have an obligation not just to our children, but to society, to raise responsible and morally upright citizens. Doing this will give us peace of mind knowing that the future society where our children belong will be kind to them.
Commandment #7: Be their guide to discovering their purpose
One of the wonderful privileges we have as parents is when we see our children start to live out their purpose and calling in life. While things won’t always fall into place initially, as they continue to discover who they are and why they exist, things will get better. We just need to give them the right push to live their lives out the way they’re meant to.
Commandment #8: Clearly define acceptance and approval with your kids
Was there ever a time that your kids did something that really upset you but you know deep in your heart that you still love them even if what they did was unacceptable?
“It’s a good thing I love you because right now I don’t like you.”
Acceptance is different from approval as seen in a situation like this. They need to know that no matter how bad they mess up, your love for them is unconditional.
Commandment #9: Walk your talk
If there’s one important thing you need to watch out for, it’s your integrity. Don’t expect your kids to listen to what you have to say and take you seriously if they see you doing the opposite of what you’re saying. Live a life of integrity so that it will be easy for your teens to follow suit.
Commandment #10: Love their mother
Perhaps the most crucial thing to do as a dad is learning to love your teen’s mother. When children see their parents loving and prioritizing each other, they grow up more secure and confident. Even if you are separated from their mother, you should still show your teenager that you still love and respect your ex.
While there is no absolute proper way to raise teenagers, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a blueprint for parenting out there somewhere to help us navigate parenthood? But we all know that’s never gonna happen.
What we can do is learn a lot from those that went before us. We can even look back on how we were raised as teens and make the necessary adjustments to become better parents for them. Parenting may be tough it is also the most rewarding privilege one can enjoy in life. Treasure it and enjoy every step of the journey, even if it gets a little crazy sometimes.