The Secret to Raising Confident Teens in a Confusing World
Raising teens is tricky business.
Teens are in this weird transition space where they aren’t really kids anymore, but they aren’t really adults yet either.
On one hand, we want to shield them from the evils of this world for as long as we possibly can. On the other hand, we want to do our part to make sure they become happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults.
That means we can’t treat them like kids, because they’re not.
Once we see this, the rest becomes clear.
So how do we help them make the transition into adulthood a little less scary? What’s the secret?
It’s always said, “You aren’t your child’s friend. You’re their parent.”
Well, spoiler alert. You can be both. And you should be.
Sounds simple, we know. That said, what’s simple isn’t always easy.
How can you make “relationship first” the rule of thumb in your home?
Here are three tips to get you started!
1. Listen TWICE as much as you speak
We grown ups think we need to dish out advice and our kids just need to lap it up – like we know more than they do just because we’re older.
Yes, we’ve got the gift of experience and (hopefully!) wisdom. However, we don’t know what it’s like to be a teen in this day and age.
One thing’s for sure. It’s harder than we realize and they face struggles we can’t relate to.
And we shouldn’t try.
What can we do instead?
Our kids just want to feel heard. And honestly, the more we listen, the more we CAN truly understand and begin to empathize with what they are thinking and feeling.
Resist the urge to jump in and offer advice.
Listen. Be a sounding board. Let them process their problems out loud without your judgment or criticism.
Your silence will speak volumes.
2. Freedom within boundaries
It’s important that teens have the freedom to screw up while living under our roof.
If we don’t give them room to learn from their mistakes, then they’re going to fall flat on their faces once they move out and don’t have us there to be their safety net.
Problem-solving skills are necessary. How can you help them with this crucial skill set?
See tip #1.
By listening and not rushing in to fix things for them, you are giving them space to figure out how to solve their problems. Encourage them to be the hero of their own story.
That part is KEY to raising a confident teen in a confusing world.
That’s not all though. There’s one more piece to this equation.
Our teens need to have rules in place that guard their health and safety. With those things taken care of, we can rest easy knowing our teens have the freedom they need to live and learn in a safe space.
These two things together provide a great environment for our teens to grow and thrive!
3. With great privilege, comes great responsibility
There’s nothing like a teen heading off to college, only to realize Mom isn’t there to do their laundry anymore.
If your desire is to raise a responsible young adult, treat them like one.
Give them responsibility. It’s important that they leave your home knowing how to take care of their own.
They need to know basic skills such as cooking, cleaning, lawn care, car maintenance, and how to balance a budget.
Make it a priority to teach them these things. The time spent and memories made will be well worth it in the end.
Why WOULDN’T we teach these things to our teens?
It seems like common sense to know we should. The reality is though that many don’t.
Why is this?
The answer is simple really. We don’t want to let go. We don’t want to face facts. They are growing up and moving out. That’s a hard reality to accept.
It’s easy to bury our heads in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening. This does our teens a disservice though. They deserve to leave our home confident they can stand on their own two feet as adults.
We can give them this gift.
We owe it to them to come to terms with our own feelings and make peace with the fact that our time with them under our roof is nearing its end.
The beauty in this is that as our teens grow up, our relationship with them will change. It will evolve over time. If we’ve made “relationship first” the priority in our homes, our bond with them will only strengthen as they weather life’s storms.
More than that though, if you’ve successfully raised a “confident teen in a confusing world”, then you’re sure to stand by proudly and watch your child succeed at whatever it is they put their mind to.
If this has been helpful to you, please share on your favorite social media channels and help us reach more parents who want to raise confident teens!