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Four R’s for Raising a Teen

by Lori Sciame | February 27th, 2012 | Teens

Narrowing down what it takes to be an effective parent of a teenager can be a daunting task; however, key factors do influence a person’s ability to relate to his or her child. If you strive to implement the four R’s I’ve listed below, your relationship with your child will begin to flourish.
R – espect
Give your teen the respect she deserves. For example, if you don’t want her barging into your room unannounced, give her the same courtesy. Also, if you wish she would stop talking to you while you have the cell phone to your ear, extend the same courtesy to her. If you think about it, sometimes adults forget that teens need to feel respected. Respect his ideas, his belongings, his space, and your son will appreciate you for it.
R – esponsible
Teach your teen that it pays to be responsible. This means having consequences for behaviors that can be classified as irresponsible. For example, you decide to let your teen attend a party with the condition that he or she must be home at midnight. At 12:30, your child has still not arrived home, but she pulls the car in the garage at 1:10 am. This lack of responsibility must be addressed swiftly. Your daughter must realize that if she would have been at home on time, she would have earned your trust; however, because of her actions, your trust in her has been compromised. In effect, being responsible leads to dividends (maybe a later curfew), while being irresponsible leads to restrictions (maybe an earlier curfew).
R – ejoice
Learning to rejoice in this unique stage of your child’s life will help you to cope with the peaks and valleys associated with parenting teenagers. Really, it’s not your son’s fault that his hormones course through his body like charging horses, and it’s not your daughter’s fault that friends have taken over center stage in her life. These are merely by-products of being teenagers. Embrace this tumultuous time, as it’s much like going for a ride on a roller coaster. Parenting a teen can be scary, exhilarating, and fun all at the same time…just like the new thrill ride at your local theme park.
R – enew
Each day in your teen’s life offers a chance to renew your love for him or her. Take every opportunity to not only show your love, but to tell your child verbally about your unending love. We all make mistakes – teens and parents – so don’t let a set-back with your teen become a defeat. Sometimes a teenager’s biggest fear is that she will lose a parent’s love as she begins to spread her wings. Reassure your child that even though you don’t always agree, you will always love him or her. So yesterday you over-reacted when your daughter told you she scratched the car door? Let it go…today you can apologize and move forward with a renewed vow to continue to be the best parent you can be.

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