How not to be Overprotective with a Teenager

Parenting a teenager can be hard work and also hard emotionally. It can be difficult to see your child growing up into an adult and learning to be independent from you. It is easy to remember a time when you were the main person in your child’s life and their days revolved around you but teenagers are beginning to stand on their own two feet and explore the world around them with you guiding them. It is difficult to not fuss your teen and try to be involved in everything that they are doing but it is important that you do this. Teenagers need to make mistakes and learn how to be adults without their parents being overprotective. You can still be involved in your teens life but in a way which isn’t overprotective and so lets your teen flourish.

1. Trust them.
One of the most important parts of a relationship is trust and this starts from a parenting/child relationship and is especially important during the teenage years. Your teenager will be wanting to carry out activities without you and to stay out later than you previously allowed and it is important to show your teenager that you trust them to be sensible but that you will allow them to carry out these requests. If you show your teen that they are trusted then they will respect that and be more likely to stick to any curfews that you give them. 

2. Talk to them.
Teenagers may have busy lives and may not want to hang out with Mom and Dad but it is still important to make time during your week in which you have the chance to talk to your child without interruptions. Ask your teen about what they have been doing but do so in a way which sounds as though you are genuinely interested and not prying. Having time to talk to your teen will enable you to be able to find out more about them so that you are still involved in their life and will also help to keep that bond you have. It will help to keep the lines of communication open which is important as if your teen has a problem or a concern they will feel as though they have the opportunity to raise it.

3. Value their opinions.
Children are always being told what to do and what is right by their parents but it is during the teen years when this often comes to a head. You may have differing opinions to your teen and it is important to not just dismiss them but to listen to them and ask questions about them so that your teen sees you are valuing them. If your teen feels as though you are valuing their interests and opinions they will have more respect for you and will be more likely to talk to you.

4. Give them space.
Teenagers may like to spend a lot of time in their rooms seemingly ‘doing nothing’ but it is important as a parent not to pry and fuss your teen telling them to do something useful or to stop being lazy. Teenagers have a lot going on in their lives and so this time alone in their bedroom is often spent thinking through their thoughts and unwinding. It is useful to allow your teen this space and privacy without intruding upon their space so they feel as though they have a place where they can unwind without being fussed over.

5. Learn from them.
You may not know how much is too much but your teen will soon let you know! You may ask your teen one too many questions or may try to take up too much of their valuable time and this doesn’t mean you were trying to insult them or smother them but it can come across that way to a teen. Teenagers can often be very vocal about what they think about how you are talking to them and so if your questioning or actions are criticised by them then remember this for in the future as if you continue to fuss too much then it can seem as though you are being overprotective.

It is not easy to parent a teen and to adjust to the new role that you have as a parent now that your child is becoming independent but it doesn’t mean that you can’t be involved in your teens life anymore. If you allow your teen to have space and trust then they will be more likely to respond well to you and so when you spend time together they will give you respect and be more likely to talk to you about their lives.