Disgruntled parents love reminding you about those "dreaded teen years" and "terrible teens." Wouldn't you have loved to hear people talk about how bad you were going to become as a toddler or tween? People who have nothing but negative experiences with their son or daughter love giving unwanted advice, don't they! Well, the following are six things you must remember about being a teen.
1. Girls like boys and boys like girls. Therefore, you can do as much as you possibly can to keep the two separate, but at some point someone is going to say, "I love him...I love her..." so be prepared not by screaming your head off at your frisky teen, but taking care to be wise, strong and armed with whatever you think will make him or her slow down! Oh by the way, more and more same sex relationships are happening too, so don't be so sure that their isn't a girl or guy that likes your child or vice versa a whole lot!
2. Teens need sleep. They are growing steadily and that takes energy! For some, their body is aching with all the developing that is going on, so if their sleeping is not interfering with your schedule, let them. They might be less irritable if they get a good rest each night.
3. Teens could use vitamin and/or herbal supplements too. With all the hormonal changes going on in their bodies, wouldn't it make sense to interview your son or daughter about their bodies and find something to help them through their transitions?
4. Teens worry. You recall the worries you had growing up ie.) grades, friends, parents, money. Well just because your teen's life may or may not have been like yours, doesn't mean he or she doesn't have worries. Sometimes teens will communicate, sometimes they won't. Just let them know, you are available to listen and make them feel comfortable to talk as much or as little as they want about an issue.
5. Teens care a lot about how they look while others don't. Whether it's what you consider a tacky hairstyle or clothing, it's what they like. Try to reach a compromise on where and when they should be expressive. If their style is too extreme and they don't want to compromise, slowly fade them out of certain family functions. There is no law that says you have to put up with a defiant teen--did your parents put up with you?!
6. Teens really don't know what they want out of life. Some may have an idea while others are clueless! As a parent you are just a guide, so direct them to something that may peak their interest (not so much yours.) Avoid being the dictator who wants to fulfill your dreams through your teen or you just might find that later in life, you won't have much of a relationship with your son or daughter, he or she might shame you, or worse do something self-destructive.
Nicholl is a parent and a former worker at the San Diego Job Corps. and the Homeless Student Initiative.