Preteens and Teens last only a few years- give it all you have to keep them on the right path.
What can we do? As parents, these are the crucial years. Think about when you were a preteen. What did you get into? What problems came from them? How could your parents have intervened and made sure you didn’t make that choice? Maybe you didn’t make bad choices at this age but you know a friend, a cousin, uncle or an aunt who did. What were their consequences? Now think about your children. How can you break this cycle (if there was one in your family)? Let’s look into highly effective parenting tips.
Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.Proverbs 2:12-15
- Communication is key- talk to your teens about their concerns or any peer problems they might be having. Pay attention to any changes in behavior.
- Be aware that depressive behavior can lead to suicide. Teens often isolate themselves, drop out of sports/activities, their grades drop and they might even pull away from friends. This would call for professional help- seek out your pediatrician and/or guidance counselor at school
- Encourage your teen to volunteer at their local civic or rec-center. Giving back and being part of a community facilitates the process of accountability to the well being of the community
- Show interest in school work, sports or clubs- really anything that your child is interested in- it could be painting, support by praising and showing up. Check homework and grades. Nurture a relationship between their teachers and yourself so that problems do don’t become too difficult to catch and make right.
- Limit time on computers and video games.
- Talk about peer pressure and how they might handle it or what they might say to make the right choice.
- Talk to your preteen/teen about the importance of waiting to have sex and all the scenarios that can change their life forever including pregnancy, STD’s and the affects that it will have on their future.
- Discuss expectations, responsibilities and accountability in having respect for authority, property, the opposite sex, business staff and teachers. Explain that being polite and helpful go a long way in life while at the same time respecting oneself. Know the importance of walking away.
- Show affection and engage them with their interests by initiating an activity together.
- Compliment your teen and celebrate their accomplishments and efforts.
- Encourage your teen to make smart choices in friends. The importance of coming home (having a curfew), getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthy. One hour of exercise five times a week is a base line. Eat as many meals together as a family- this will nurture communication and stability.
- Learn your child’s ‘love language’. Everyone has one! It might be words of affirmation (verbal encouragement in all areas of their lives), physical touch (a hug, a shoulder squeeze, a handshake, maybe even wrestling around), quality time (doing errands, sports, activities, homework, meals), acts of service (making their lunch, taking them to school, checking their homework, doing their laundry) and gifts (getting ice cream together, picking up something they need for school or sports, rewarding disciplined behavior).
Even though you may not be able to do some of these things, it’s important to know them and share them with the care-taker of your child. It’s important also because these items can become goals for you to work towards one day.