Good behaviour in teens has to start with strong, positive communication and support from parents.
While the journey of raising a young adult has its trials and triumphs and no two experiences are the same, here are 10 foundational tips for encouraging good behaviour in your teen.
1. Be sure to actively listen
Your teen is going to be dealing with a number of new experiences and emotions. They're figuring out who they really are. So when they come to you for support or advice, stop whatever you might be doing, sit with them and truly listen.
2. Set clear rules and boundaries
You want your teen to know that despite this time of self-discovery, it doesn't mean they have free-reign. When outlining house rules, be sure to involve the entire family and make it a positive discussion. For example, instead of saying "don't be disrespectful," you could instead say, "we speak to each other with respect." This is a good place to outline what consequences can come from rule-breaking and obtain your teen's understanding of those consequences. Whether that be no mobile phone for a weekend or not allowing friends to sleep over. Be sure that whatever the consequences are, that they relate to whatever rule has been broken.
3. Be consistent with discipline
If rules are broken, you can give your teen a fair consequence - one that you both should've agreed on in advance and that relates to the rule that was broken.
For example, you could say, "Because you were on your phone until past bedtime, you won't be able to use your phone after dinner for two nights."
If the same rules are broken again, follow the same protocol. It's about setting expectations for future behaviour. Encourage self-reflection for them too, here. If they break a rule and you set a consequence, ask them what they would do differently moving forward to avoid discipline.
4. Allow your child independence
Now this doesn't mean letting them roam free as they wish. It means respecting their personality, wishes and desires as much as you can to show them that you support them in their journey.
This could be letting them choose the way they dress or do their hair. It also means you'll save your battles or disagreements about these smaller issues.
5. Show them praise
Just because they act like they're independent and 'all grown up', it doesn't mean teens don't still want their parents' approval - it just may not be outwardly obvious. Encourage and praise their good, productive behaviour. FYI - teens usually prefer this done privately and not in front of their friends.
6. Practise what you preach
Whether it be asking your child to be honest and share their feelings, or asking them to speak nicer to you or other family members - be sure that you're demonstrating those same behaviours.
You don't want your teen acting one way and expecting another from them.
Also if you're making any kind of promises to your child, make sure you 100 per cent keep them. Breaking this trust can be detrimental to a parent-child relationship if it happens on more than one occasion.
7. Respect their privacy
That sneaking desire to barge into their bedroom or to go through their mobile phone needs to take a backseat.
Teens crave privacy and a space of their own, so in a family home this is highly likely to be their room.
If you need to enter their space, ask their permission. And don't go through their belongings. Building this kind of trust is what will encourage your child to be open and honest with you.
8. Have realistic expectations
Think about when you were a teen... did you make mistakes? Get in trouble? How did those experiences and your parents' reactions make you feel?
Think about this when it comes to your own child.
Mistakes will be made, rules will be broken - whether on purpose or not, that's life. We've all been there. Your teen is still learning and growing as a person and testing boundaries is part of this process. Be realistic about your expectations of them and make room for the slip-ups, they're only human.
9. Encourage them to share their emotions
It's crucial to foster a family-environment where your teen feels comfortable to share their feelings with you as a parent.
Ensuring them that no matter what you will support them and making sure you approach any situation with them with an open-mind, you will build this trust. But know they don't have to share their feelings if they don't want to, it's not about forcing them out.
If you notice they're down or distressed, try sitting down with them someone quiet in the house or backyard and let them know that while they may not be ready to talk, you'll be there ready to support when they are.
10. Have fun!
It might seem like a simple one, but make sure to pencil in some fun, quality time with your teens. Schedule a pizza night, go bowling on the weekend, get them involved in cooking dinner, have a movie marathon, go for a beach walk - whatever you both enjoy.
This will strengthen your bond and you'll both have fun in the process!
If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime, in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.
Article originally published by: Raising Children Network
All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.