1. Have a Sense of Humor.
If you can be positive, then do it. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Laughing is easier than crying. If you can laugh at a situation or joke around with your teen, then do it. Sometimes your teen will need to talk about a serious situation or concern, but most of our everyday interaction (especially their mistakes) can be brought to a brighter light with a little laughter. When they lock their keys in the car for the third time and need your help again, do you lecture them or do you laugh about it will a smile? Remember, you’ve been there, locked outside your own car with the keys still inside. How did you want to be treated?
2. Show Them Respect.
Some parents don’t feel their teen deserves respect. That doesn’t matter! They need to be shown respect, whether they deserve it or not. If they aren’t shown respect, for their space, their stuff, their time, then how will they know what respect is? Who will teach them about true respect if they don’t learn it from you? Will they ever learn it? By showing them respect, you teach them how they should treat others.
3. Don’t Ground Them.
Find other ways to punish them that relate to the offense. Be creative if you have to. By grounding them, you are using “being home” as a punishment. How do they feel when their grounding is finally over? They can’t wait to get out of the house!
4. Show Interest in Their Hobbies and Music.
If they like to run, go running with them. (If they are ok with it) If they like to read, read the same book they are reading and talk about it with them. Listen to some of their music. While in High School I loved Country music. Faith Hill and Shania Twain were really big then and I just thought my mom loved that music too. We would listen to it in the car and at home. Years later, after being away at college, I returned home and my mom was not listening to country music. The music that was playing in the car was my younger sister’s favorite music which was more contemporary. I asked my mom about her change in music and she confessed that she played my taste in music on purpose. She did that with the other kids when they were teens. My mom never made me listen to HER music. Hearing music I loved created an environment where I felt comfortable and where I felt I belonged.
5. Let Them Invite Friends Over.
Make the home fun for other teens, so they will feel comfortable to have friends over. My grandparents had a room with a pool table and fridge full of soda pop. They always kept it stocked up and you can bet it wasn’t for the parents. It was for their three sons, whose friends loved coming over. It is much easier to keep an eye on your teen when he is in your house, not someone else’s. Lock up the stuff you don’t want them to touch. Make it safe, and fun. It will be to your benefit to meet and get to know their friends, whoever they are and whether you like them or not. If you want to keep your kid close, let them have friends over.
What do you think of these ideas? What would you add to the List?