As your child transitions into a teenager, you’ll experience new challenges presented by them: testing boundaries, rule breaking, tantrums, and more.
New behaviors require new boundaries. To help you navigate your children’s transitioning period into a teen, we’ve compiled a few tips for you.
Manage your reactions
It’s only natural that as your child grows older, they’ll seek more independence and privacy. They may place more attention on their social life and less on you, and these changes may be jarring.
Many parents overreact to these changes and constantly check on their children through their social media accounts, cell phones, GPS trackers—essentially revoking any semblance of their social privacy. Being worried about your child is absolutely natural, but letting the anxiety fuel any overreactions could be detrimental to the communication that parents strive for.
Set rules that will reduce your anxiety
Anxiety over your children’s whereabouts can be hard to manage. However, there are a few things you can do to help reduce your worries.
Instead of policing their actions, set up clear rules for behavior and communication. Agree upon a check-in time when your children leave the house, letting you know who they’re with, where they are going, and when they’ll be home. This allows you to be connected with them while giving them the social privacy that they need.
While constantly hovering over your children can be detrimental, letting them have too much freedom can pose negative consequences as well.
Children and young teens don’t possess the developmental wherewithal to make sound decisions. If they were to be given the freedom to do whatever they would like, most kids will likely do so. However, children and teens simply don’t possess the tools and experiences that allow them to think ahead to see potential consequences of impulsive actions. Providing them with too much freedom increases the probability of impulsive behavior, which may put them in bad situations.
Have a healthy balance
As a parent, it’s important to lead and guide your child through their transitioning period into a teenager. Allow them to explore their decisions and independence with healthy boundaries in place. Communication and rules should be well-balanced where they feel independent but reminded about your focus on their well-being.
Make rules and follow through with them
Establishing boundaries and expectations are essential, so having the consistency to follow through with those rules is as significant. The goal is to have these rules set before there’s an issue, and not after the fact.
Boundaries and consequences provide a structure for your child, letting them know what will happen if they break any rules. If any rules are broken, follow through with the punishment.
For example, you and your child agree that if they stay out past curfew, their phone privileges will be revoked. When they do break that rule, you’ll have to see it through from start to finish. Bending your rules will send messages that you may not be serious, consequently communicating that those boundaries don’t have to be taken serious as well.
We hope these tips will help you navigate raising your child as they transition into teens!
If you want to learn about how you can help your pre-teen and teenager through their anxiety, read our blog about it here.