It’s hard to navigate the teen years. Hormones and peer pressure, combined with feeling all grown up when you really aren’t, make the adolescent years more difficult than parents remember. While you can’t do the navigating for your teen, there are ways you can help. Start by offering good advice and tips to see your teen through tough situations. Here are 5 things your teen should know:
- It’s important to listen to your gut. You have likely given your teen lots of good advice, but you can’t be with your child all the time and everywhere he goes. Advise your teen to listen to his gut, that inner voice that helps him decide whether or not a situation or choice is a good one for him. While not foolproof, gut feelings may help him avoid (or get out of) tricky situations when you’re not around to help.
- 2. Think. Impulsiveness is a natural part of adolescence, but learning to stop and think can help keep your teen out of trouble. Though thinking before acting may seem like a no-brainer, many kids just don’t do it and may benefit from reminders to do so. Tell your teen to ask herself the following questions before she does something new or questionable: Why do I want to do this? What will I get out of doing it? Is it risky, and what are the risks? Are the risks worth doing/trying/experiencing this?
- Everyone makes mistakes. Your teen will make mistakes, and that’s okay. Everyone makes them. We would all like to avoid the mistakes in the first place, but that is not realistic. Tell your teen to use mistakes as a learning experience. These learning opportunities can help your teen make better decisions in the future.
- It helps to have a passion for something. Often, teens get into tricky situations in the quest for excitement, but developing a passion for something can provide thrills without risks. Encourage your teen to find something she loves and become an expert in it.
- You like him or her. Your teen knows you love him, but does he know you like him? Let him know you respect him, tell him why you admire him, and take an interest in the things he likes. Let him know that you support him and want him to succeed. And above all, remind him that you love him and are always there to listen when he needs you–no matter what.
While this is by no means a comprehensive list of the things your teen should know, it is a fundamental one. Share these points again and again in your talks with your teen. Eventually, they will sink in.