How to Raise Truly Healthy and Happy Teenagers

By: amm.stephenblyth | Posted: 19th January 2012

Parenting in general is difficult enough, but parenting teenagers is truly in a league of its own. In order to ensure that your teens really do grow up healthy and happy, you have to face one of parenthood’s greatest foes: teenage angst. Yes, angst is just a phase and soon enough, your kids will grow out of their desire to wallow in all that gloom and doom. Be that as it may, it is still a legitimate obstacle that can keep you and your children apart.

Fortunately, there are certain ways to still be a great parent despite this hitch. To give you an idea, here are some key methods:

1. Let them make mistakes.
You may have gotten used to being the kind of parent that does everything in their power to foolproof their kids’ experiences. This may be okay if your kids are still very young, but when you’re raising teens, you have to accept that they have to endure their own mistakes. They will not become healthy and happy individuals in the long run if you try to protect them far too much. The mistakes they make due to teenage angst will serve to teach them crucial life lessons. To deny them this experience may actually stunt their development.

2. Don’t force yourself to be the ‘cool’ mom or dad.
Every teen’s nightmare involves being in public with a parent—a key opportunity for the said parent to royally cramp their style in front of their peers. The worst thing you could do then is to force yourself to be a ‘hip’ parent. Don’t try to talk to them using the current slang. Don’t pretend that you are absolutely in love with the same music and movies they love. If you want truly healthy and happy teens, you won’t try to invade their special teen world. If you do, you will surely come face to face with bucket loads of teenage angst!

3. Let them tell you what they want to tell you.
It may come as second nature to you to pry into your children’s personal life, but if you’re trying to raise teenagers, being too nosy can sully your relationship. It is important to be informed of what your kids are up to, but don’t be too pushy about it. Let your teens open up to you; be the kind of parent that your teens can approach whenever they’re troubled and need someone to talk to. Healthy and happy teens are those who know full well that they can trust their own parents. If you come off as a sneaky private investigator, though, they’ll definitely focus their teenage angst on you!

4. Get to know their friends.
Are you the kind of parent who mixes up the names and face of their kids’ friends? If you are, then you should really make an effort to get to know these friends better. The friendlier you appear to them, the more they’ll approve of you, and the more they’ll insist to your kids that you actually are pretty great. Teenagers value their friends’ opinions quite a lot, so the least you could do is be on these friends’ good side. Your teens will grow up healthy and happy knowing that their old folks have earned their friends’ seal of approval. That knowledge will definitely lessen their teenage angst tenfold.

5. Don’t baby them anymore.
It can be a struggle to accept that your little children are growing up, but it’s something every parent has to go through. Don’t burden your teens by trying to treat them as if they were still seven-year-olds. You should neither talk down to them too much, nor be too mushy and lovey-dovey to them. Treating them as the soon-to-be-adults that they are will help them become truly healthy and happy. Remember: if they show any semblance of teenage angst, help them with their problem in a practical, adult manner. Toys and sweets are no longer necessary.

Getting through this period of parenthood can be really tough, but if you do things right, it will be one of the most rewarding things you’ve ever gone through. Dealing with a teenager will always come with a challenge or two, but it shouldn’t be anything you can’t handle. Be there for your kids, but let them be themselves at the same time. Good luck, and happy parenting!
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Tags: nightmare, desire, experiences, second nature, relationship, peers, obstacle, mom, personal life, slang, dad, cramp, parenthood, foes