Our children went to parties and music festivals. They had the opportunity to go to these events, but they knew they had to come home at a set time. If my memory serves me right, I think it wasn’t until they were sixteen that they had that opportunity. Go with them, take them, and talk beforehand about what to do if they are offered alcohol, drugs, or sexual advances.
We were not perfect parents and in conversations with them they classified us as “super strict” but I remember that when our children started driving at the age of 16, they knew the importance of following safety rules. We were clear as parents about the responsibility of having a vehicle and what we expected of them. It was important to establish the rules from the beginning. They were told about everything from having a job to covering maintenance expenses, road safety, their curfews and even the passenger limits established by law. It was important to us to set those expectations clearly and concisely. They even signed contracts committing themselves to a list of instructions to follow.
Managing this stage of adolescence was not and is not easy and will have its challenges, but with love, consistency and communication it can be an effective experience both for us as parents and for them as children.
Things that can help with your teenagers:
- Have empathy with your children.
- Let them learn from their own consequences when they make poor decisions.
- Be firm and consistent.
- Always keep your child’s future in mind.
- Keep in mind where your rights begin and where those of your children begin.
- Give respect to be respected as a parent.
- Remember your role as a parent.
- Use privileges to your advantage.
- Remember the difference in privileges and rights.
- Maintain good communication.
- Maintain a healthy relationship with your children. By doing so, you’ll be building a foundation for healthy relationships that will continue with them well into adulthood.
Enjoy your children to the fullest. Be present in their lives at all times and be part of their daily lives. It is said “there is no manual for parents” but there are books, social rules, family therapy, thousands of videos on YouTube and even the Bible speaks of correction and parenting.
Brenda Rivera, BSW