One of the most difficult challenges of parenting, teenage parenting is enough to give you gray hairs. Teenagers are making the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood and, suffice it to say, they make a lot of mistakes along the way. Parents are left to wonder what happened to their sweet child and have a difficult time coping with the issues of raising kids of these ages.
As a beginner to parenting, teenage parenting often begins around the age of twelve. Kids start to act belligerent and will lie to their parents about where they’ve been or what they have been doing. School isn’t taken as seriously but relationships with other teens become paramount. The teens at this age are often on the phone talking to friends and will neglect their homework unless pressured to keep up with it.
To many beginners to this kind of parenting, teenage parenting is a great deal of “us” versus “them”. Parents must be on the alert for suspicious behaviors in teens that are possibly related to starting smoking, using drugs or drinking alcohol. These are things the teenager won’t talk to the parent about. The parent needs to keep up a high index of suspicion and not be afraid of talking to their teen about these kinds of issues, no matter how embarrassing it may seem.
Speaking of embarrassing, parenting teenager girls means having frank discussions about sex and birth control. These are issues your child will not bring up with you at all. If you go about your life not believing your child is thinking about or participating in sex, you are making a very big parenting error. Teen pregnancies can be reduced if parents of teenagers talk to them about sex and actively help them get some form of birth control. Keep asking about birth control until the child is receptive to talk about it. That is the time to make an appointment with the gynecologist or family physician.
Parenting teenager boys carries its own risks and issues. You’ll need to be able to focus on drugs, alcohol and on risky behaviors, like driving too fast and other risks teen boys often take. It is also a good idea to talk to teenage boys about things like safe sex and condoms. Teen boys need to learn to take responsibility in areas of sexuality, too, and it is not out of the question to make sure they have condoms available to them. It is an unsafe assumption to believe that teen boys will never have sex.
Even if you’re a pro at parenting, teenage parenting is often very difficult, especially when you have more than one teenager in your household. It is always a good idea to have an open relationship with your teenagers so that, when issues of truancy, drugs, alcohol or other teen issues crop up, your relationship will stand up to the issues. If you feel you are having problems, you can consider family counseling, teen counseling or possibly parenting classes specifically designed for raising teenagers. Parenting classes can expose you to other parents dealing with some of the same issues and you may find easy solutions to your teenage problems.