Stop Treating your Teenager like a Child

Children grow up so quickly.  Before you even know it your toddler is a teenager full of their own opinions and an excess of attitude.  The switch happens so quickly that as parents we often forget to transition from treating our teenagers like children to treating them like adults.  This is not only damaging for your teenager’s developmental stage, it can inevitably damage the relationship between you and your teenager.

As children merge into teenagers it is their desire for independence that causes the most tension between a parent and a teenager.  While you are still in the stage of planning your child’s routine and schedule, they have reached the point of wanting to be in control of their own destiny.  To ease the pain of your child growing into a teenager, start off slowly by giving them choices and making an effort not to control their schedule.  Give them more freedom by asking them “What are you planning for the weekend?”  Set ground rules that you can live with, giving your teenager the added freedom they desire.  They will greatly appreciate not being treated like a child and you will give them the tools necessary to grown into responsible adults.

To become productive members of society, teenagers need skills such as confidence and independence.  The way you treat your teenager in these formative years will play a vital role in that evolution.  As parents, we tend to shelter our children from things that could harm them.  As they grow into teenagers, we hope that as we sheltered them, we also taught them how to protect themselves from danger.  If while sheltering them we blinded them from the dangers of life, it is likely they learned very little about how to protect themselves.  This is the typical result from parents that hover.  You’ve seen examples of parents hovering.  You know the ones at the park that are always telling their child to slow down or not swing so high.  They’ll do anything to prevent their child from the smallest scrapes or bruises, but it is those little scrapes and bruises that teach our children the importance of being careful.  If mom or dad is always warning them of imminent danger, how will they develop the decision making abilities to determine what could cause them danger?  As parents, we have to be able to sit back sometimes and let our child make the hard choices.  They may end up with some small bumps and bruises now, but as they grow older those bumps and bruises become life threatening.  That is why it is so important that parents break the habit of hovering.  This will help them to gain the confidence and independence needed to become responsible adults. 

Yes, children grow up way too quickly.  The key for parents is to recognize when it is time to stop treating our teenagers like children and begin treating them like adults.