As any parent single or not, can attest to … raising teenagers is a challenging job. I would gather that these days it is more challenging than ever, especially as social networking has evolved into a major artery in our lives. As our teens spend more of their lives online, parents must actively pursue and monitor teens’ activities and interests on the internet. The Zur Institute provides some insightful information for parents regarding online interaction for our teenagers.
Now that we have a few facts and probably some scary statistics, let’s talk solutions AND influential parenting. Whether we realize it or not, parents still have a major impact on the lives of their teenagers. Single parents do face a tougher road in that there is only parent trying to do the job of two and in many cases, also work outside the home.
My own experience with my teenagers was a roller coaster ride of wonderful highs and good times, to valleys of struggles and tears. But, as a family, we got through the tough times. As a parent, I read lots of books and sought out testimonials and advice on the internet. I also sought out other parents of teens that I could lean on and find comfort while at the same time share each other’s burdens.
One of the best outlets I found for my teenagers was sports. As parents, we tend to focus on “our” struggle and forget that our teens are trying to navigate their way through these sometimes tumultuous years. I signed my teenagers up for swim class. It was a great way to relieve stress, bond and also get good cardio exercise. My one daughter tried basketball while another tried tennis. They both gravitated towards soccer, so I did my best to ensure that they could play, get to practice and bond with other teens though the unification of a team sport. If I couldn’t afford everything, I sought out leagues that offered full or partial scholarships. In some cases, organizations are very generous and allow payment plans. The bottom line is to take of yourself as a parent by finding outlets to release your stress while at the same time, affording your teen/tween to opportunity to do the same.
Below parents can find a few good links and also some quick tips from my perspective.
My quick advice:
Speak life giving words: “I love you” or “You CAN do this book report” or “You are special”
Be generous with your compliments.
Give lots of hugs, even if your teen tries to shy away.
Don’t be too self-critical – every parent struggles in raising their teen.