It feels like the more I look back on my teenage years, the more I wish I could not only give myself advice, but my parents too. Here are some things that would have massively helped me along the way, and maybe if you’re a parent to a teen, it could help you too?
Try to remember what it was like when you were our age
Things are weird and awkward for teenagers, and social pressure is far worse today than ever before.
Social media is everywhere
Don’t stress and worry about what we’re doing online. Have a few healthy conversations about your concerns towards online dangers and trust that your children will do the right thing
Don’t shame teenagers for the mistakes they’ve made
Don’t shout at us out of love; don’t shout at us for crying because you’ve shouted. Speak to us how you’d like someone you love to speak to you.
School is hard
We’re in an age where academic pressure is increasing every day. So, when you tell us that we should have achieved 80% instead of 75% does nothing but harm our confidence.
Tell us you are proud
Being a teenager is hard. Don’t belittle our struggles just because you’ve got 20 years of extra experience. Remember that every generation is struggling in different ways; just because you think our problems are trivial, doesn’t mean they’re not valid.
“Because I told you to” is not a valid argument
Just because you made and raised us, doesn’t mean you have you force us into doing things. When you start lecturing, we stop listening.
Accept that you don’t know everything
Sometimes we don’t want to tell you things because you’ll worry or get angry… but trust that we’re going to make it out the other end.
Banning us from doing things is only going to make us do them more
I was actually very fortunate that my parents were incredibly trusting; I would tell them if I went to a house party or if I drank. It’s because of that upbringing that I never did anything rebellious; there was nothing to rebel against. So when you tell your kids they can’t do something, they’re still going to do it… but won’t go to you if something goes wrong.
It’s hard, I know. But have faith that you’ve raised someone who is going to make mistake but be able to grow and learn from them.
Don’t baby me
It’s that weird stage where we’re not children but also not adults, so don’t treat us like babies.