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Teenager Madness - Parenting by Example!

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/27/2007 | Parenting

Are you a parent with one or more teenagers in your family? There is probably no more difficult time in history than the present when it comes to raising teenagers. Let's face it; young people who are at this stage in their lives are going through the most difficult stage of their lives. What can you do to help smooth things out for them? Sometimes you may feel totally helpless because so many things are out of your control. But there is one thing that is under your control. You! This article will focus on what parents must look for within themselves to provide their children with the stability that they so desperately need these days.

It's a very confusing time for young people and their parents. There are so many mixed messages in society and there is much negative stimuli for them. You, as a parent, are going through your own trials and tribulations, trying to make sense of the environment that your children are being exposed to. You have many powerful and competing factors that can affect your child's behavior such as the Internet, television, peer pressure, adult negativity, drugs and alcohol, etc.

The first thing that you need to realize is that you are not alone. There are many parenting groups available today. If you feel isolated then it is critical that you network with other parents by attending various parent groups or participating in online forums that are geared to your specific needs. Networking is imperative for your own health and sanity. If you remember nothing else about this article, please try to remember this one single point: You are your child's best source of stability. That is why you must first take care of yourself before you can provide help or assistance to your teenager.

In order to be effective as a parent (especially with teenagers), you must learn to manage your own behaviors and actions first. The biggest mistake a parent can make is to display contradicting behaviors or actions in front of their children. You must live what you speak. Remember the old saying; actions speak louder than words.

For example, if you tell your son or daughter not to abuse alcohol or drugs but you yourself do these things, then you are sending loud and clear message that your words are meaningless. You must learn to catch everything you say to your children and question your own behaviors and actions. Are they consistent with what you tell them? This is probably the one, most important, key point in achieving effective parenting. You can't just talk the talk you must walk the talk.

Another key point that many parents seem to completely miss is the idea that they are NOT a buddy or a friend to their children. It seems that many parents think that, by behaving more like a buddy or a friend, they will be able to better relate to their children. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact this can often back fire for the parent because they run the risk of losing respect and their position of authority.

Too many parents seem to just give in to their teenagers. They seem to accept everything that their teenagers want to do. It's too hard to object and enforce some rules or boundaries. Giving in to your teenagers is in fact the wrong thing to do. Here's an interesting idea that you may not have thought of. Did you ever stop to think that your teenager might actually want you to object to something they are doing? If you think that something your teenager is doing is wrong then say so and be persistent and consistent about it. Don't just give in. Your son or daughter wants to know that you care.

Believe it or not, teenagers really look up to their parents for guidance. It may not always be apparent (no pun intended) that they do but they really do. They look to their parents for stability and guidance and they want to know that they are loved. But giving in or always trying to be nice to your children does not always demonstrate love. You must learn to be firm in your beliefs, consistent and persistent in your behaviors and actions. When you achieve these things, you are actually becoming your child's main source of stability in their lives and this is where they should be getting it.

Therefore you must find this stability within yourself. Parenting is not easy and it takes a lot of effort to develop good parenting skills. It is often said that people should go to parenting college before becoming parents. But, unfortunately, there is no such thing. You must be willing to learn as you go.

Remember, kids are worth it. They are our future.