Monday, July 22, 2024

How To Help Your Teen Avoid Trouble.

April 29, 2019 by  
Filed under Health & Wellness, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Our children grow up so incredibly fast. One minute, it seems they are babes in arms, relying on us for everything, and the next, they are beginning to grow up and move off in their own direction. A natural part of this is a little rebellion. Just like with toddlers, teens are in a time of intense mental development, where they are learning who they are as a person. Testing the boundaries is all a part of the process of discovery. But while a little pushing is perfectly normal, it’s quite natural to be worried about some of the self-destructive behaviours your teen can display. In a world of intense pressure – academically, from us as parents, social media, and their peers – sometimes even the best behaved teens can do things which seem out of character. There are many opportunities for bad choices, and as parents it’s not up to us to prevent our children from making every single mistake – instead, we have to empower them with the tools and knowledge to choose the right ones for themselves. We fall into the wrong behaviours ourselves through fear – as adults, we can fully appreciate how risky the world is, and naturally we want to protect our children, but sometimes we go about this in completely the wrong way. Here’s how to help support them the right way.

Acknowledge Their Choice

Parenting is hard, and it’s all too easy to fall into nagging or coming out with things like ‘Because I said so!’. You have to recognize the plain fact that you’re no longer dealing with a fully dependent child. Teens are defensive because they want to be seen as their own person – if you acknowledge their autonomy, it can go a long way towards diffusing tension.

Build The Trust

This can be so hard to do, and especially in cases where your child has already gotten into reckless behaviour. But there can be no real relationship without it, so you really have to work on building damaged trust back up. Start by allowing small freedoms as a consequence of positive choices. You may want to explain the boundaries to your teen – let them know that they can have their freedom, but that you will need them to call and check in, for example. Let them know that if they choose not to answer the phone, you will come looking for them. Explain that your actions come from a place of love and ensuring their safety. You can ask for things like enabling a tracker app on their phone so that you can see their location in return for paying for a cell phone. Or using a specialist like Christian Fletcher Atlanta to drug test if they have a history of using illegal substances.

Find Ways To Raise Their Esteem

A lot of poor teen decisions come down to a negative self-image. Destructive behaviours can come about as a result of dealing with low esteem, and criticism – even if fully warranted – can lower it further. Try changing tack and building up your teen with regular praise. Identify their goals and help them visualize a bright future to aim for. Let them feel like a part of something bigger – a community, a family, a church – to give them a sense of contribution and belonging. The stronger your teens sense of identity and self-worth the less likely they are to be tempted into negative behaviours.

Staff Writer; Paula Adams

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