Without knowing better, parents might approach the tasks associated with parenting a teenager negatively. Some degree of fear and trepidation is common as parents contemplate struggling with defiance and the fact that teen years are often an emotional rollercoaster. Instead of reacting negatively, make a conscious decision to be supportive of your teen and to adopt a positive parenting strategy to successfully guide him in the right direction.
Treat your teenager respectfully to institute a positive and respectful relationship between you and your adolescent, advises psychologist Laura Markham, with the Aha! Parenting website. Parenting with respect involves speaking with consideration, listening actively, empathizing as necessary and setting reasonable expectations and limits for behavior.
Nurture a bond with your teen to keep a strong connection. Even though a teen may sometimes act like he wants a parent to leave him alone, teens need closeness to provide security. This security gives teens the courage to move toward independence gradually. Whether you’re checking in with a quick “How’s it going?” or you’re shopping together on a Sunday afternoon, make an effort to stay close.
Stay involved with your teenager’s everyday life to show her that you are interested in what she’s doing and what’s important to her, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Attend sporting and performance events and ask questions about her interests and hobbies. Monitor your teen’s daily activities to ensure that her behaviors and actions remain positive. If you see changes, ask questions to determine whether your teen could benefit from speaking with a professional.
Expect positive behavior from your teenager. Positivity usually begets positivity, so if you expect that your teenager will behave in a positive and respectful manner, she just might do this. An example of expecting positive behavior might be saying to your teenager, “See you at 11!” instead of warning her that she better not be late.
Fight the negativity that the media emphasizes. Books, movies and headlines often portray negative messages about teen behavior, warns pediatrician Kenneth Ginsburg, writing for the Psychology Today website. Instead of allowing these negative messages to cloud your teen’s perspective, point out hypocrisy and hype when you see it and discuss the realities with your teen. Don't lower your positive expectations for your teen. Find news stories about teens doing good for others and accomplishing goals -- and show these stories to your teen.
Teach and model positive conflict resolution for your teenager to instill these skills. When issues develop between the two of you, a teenager may tend to react intensely due to fluctuating hormones, according the Family Support Agency’s “Parenting Positively” brochure. Stay calm and set a positive example of discussing an issue, listening respectfully and work out an agreeable solution.
Relax and enjoy your teenager to ensure that the teen years have a positive overtone. Laughter and lightheartedness can be fuel positive interactions, enabling everyone to enjoy the teen years more.