You’ve come a long way from feeding and burping and fixing booboos.
But this doesn’t mean that you can now rely on them to have all the skills they need to succeed without you.
Yes, you won’t need to brush their teeth for them anymore, but they still need you as much as they always have.
The skills they need to learn now are very different to the toddler years.
You have to show them how to be an adult and then let them practice doing that.
Here are some things every teenager needs most from you now.
Make An Effort To Understand Their Interests
If you want to engage with your teen, you should be genuinely interested in things important to your teen.
You don’t have to be an expert at everything. Just show that you’re interested and take part in as many activities as you can.
If all your teen wants to do is play video games, then ask him about his favorite character and which level he has reached so far.
If you have an energetic teen, join them for fitness activities. Lift weights, run or bike together.
Make a point to connect with your teen’s passions no matter what they do.
Listen More Than You Speak
Your teen might not want to talk to you all the time anymore.
Remember when your tween just wouldn’t stop talking and you just wanted a break from all the mindless jabbering. Yeah, well your wish has most likely come true and your teen is mostly quite and possibly grumpy.
However, there will be times that they need to talk to you. Now it’s time to listen.
Often they won’t start with they actually want to talk about. They’ll ask a question that might be related.
If you actively listen, you might get a wonderful insight into what’s going on in their lives and minds and have a very meaningful conversation with them.
The more you listen, the more signals you’ll be able to pick up on as to what’s going on in their lives.
Encourage & Compliment Them
It’s important that you express more positive words to your teen than negative ones. This is one of the most important things that every teenager needs from you now.
You will find plenty of opportunities to correct your teen and tell them what they’re doing wrong.
Make sure you look for the good too and compliment your teen often. Saying things like “that was a mature decision” or “you did the right thing” can greatly encourage your teen.
Take advantage of every opportunity that comes up to show how proud you are and build their self-esteem!
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Yes, we want to keep reminding them to sit up straight and not put their elbows on the table. Their room might be untidy and their washing not put away. However, there might be more important things that you need to deal with as they get older.
If you’re pointing out every little thing they’ve done wrong then they won’t hear or acknowledge the more important things.
For example, if you nag them about their room and socks, and their lunchbox, then by the time you want to discuss the fact that they haven’t done their homework, they won’t want to hear one more negative thing about themselves.
Focus on what is really important. Tackle those issues and forget about the smaller issues that might be irritating, but less important.
Spend One-On-One Time With Them
Plan regular, fun events that you and your teen can look forward to.
Friday night board-games or a family movie night are great ideas.
A wonderful tradition is to plan special one-on-one time with each child. You could plan an evening or weekend away. For example, dad can go on a camping trip one year with your son, while you do a weekend away at a spa with your daughter. Next year you swop which child you spend one-on-one time with, and do a different activity that you’ll enjoy together.
It is so important to actively engage with your child. We’re always so busy with a million other things, that it’s hard to be intentional in your parenting. Having these special dates allows you to focus on nothing else but getting to know your teen and spending quality time together.
Invite Family Friends Over
Show them what a healthy, fun time looks like hanging out with friends.
Invite family friends over to spend the day with you, so that they can connect with other children outside of their school circle.
This also introduces other adults that they might be interested in connecting with. Our friend’s son loves chatting to my husband about cryptocurrencies. Another friend’s daughter is totally fascinated with a doctor friend of ours.
Having your friends around gives them the opportunity to speak to adults in a safe and comfortable environment.
Get To Know Their Friends
Encourage your teenage kids to have friends over often.
Our boys love games night, or camping out in the garden.
Order pizza, make popcorn, have plenty of snacks, and provide them with a safe place to hang out.
Stay available to them and check on them on a regular basis, but don’t hover around them too much.
Buy More Food
You’ve definitely heard them saying “I’m hungry!” and “There’s nothing to eat!”. Teens are always hungry.
Be sure to have plenty of snacks available.
A great idea is to have a specific shelf where you keep all the food and snacks that they can eat anytime. Make sure it is stocked with a variety of foods and be sure to replenish it frequently.
This allows you some control over what snacks your teenager has access to and allows them some freedom in choosing what foods they wish to eat.
Don’t forget to teach them how to make some foolproof recipes themselves.
Give Them More Independence
One of the things every teenager needs is to be allowed to be more independent. It’s time to give your teen some more freedom. But with freedom also comes responsibility.
Talk to your teen about responsibility, independence, and trust. Make sure they understand the amount of freedom you give them is tied directly to the amount of responsibility they can handle.
Consider extending your child’s bedtime, increasing their curfew or even giving them money to go shopping without you.
If they break your trust or if their grades suffer, you might have to take some of that independence back.
Hug Your Teen
They need to know that you love them. Never assume that they know. To me this is one of the forgotten things every teenager needs from us.
It’s natural for them to pull away during adolescence, so you need to lean in ever more.
I’ve always hugged my kids a lot, so it’s nothing new in our home. However, if you’re not the hugging kind, then use words to let them know that you love them. A smile or a squeeze of the shoulder can also show that you’re here and available to them.
We hope these tips gives you some insight into the things every teenager needs from us a parents during their journey through adolescence. If you have other suggestions then please comment below and share these with us.