10 things to know when parenting a teenager

parenting a teenager

*This is a guest post 

Ever feel like you are treading on eggshells? If only we had a parenting manual with all the rules we need and the pointers of how to cope in tricky situations. As our children grow up everything starts to change. No sooner do we start feeling confident that we have this ‘parenting-lark’ sussed – that the goalposts start changing.

Well, here are some of those pointers of things to know when parenting a teenager that will help you embark on the next stage with less trepidation.

Forget The Super-Parent

Life is not like The Waltons! We do not have to have wholesome meals on the table and clean clothes airing on the line on a daily basis. Life can be topsy-turvy at times and it’s OK to embrace that. A home is all about LOVE and not clean skirting boards and a pot-roast in the oven.

Ignore The Bad Rap

What irritates me beyond belief is all the negative press that teenagers seem to receive.

“They are rude, selfish, self-absorbed’ individuals.” WRONG! Teenagers are just young people who are trying to find their way in a world where they don’t quite understand the rules yet.

No Regrets

Sure, there are always things we wish we had handled better. But you are right where you need to be – right now. Your past decisions ( and mistakes ) have brought you to this point. Do not beat yourself up. So long as you are still communicating and respectful of one another – you are heading in the right direction.

Fear Not

There’s No Such Thing As Failure – only Feedback. This fear of getting things wrong ( and looking bad ) often stops us from taking risks or accepting challenges.

Accept and enjoy the chaos and messiness that your family is. That’s just as it should be. It’s a bit like your old teddy bear : Comfortable – Falling apart at the seams – Reassuring – Held together with Love.

It’s OK To Have Bad Days Too

Teenagers do not have the monopoly on feeling confused and distracted with life. We are allowed to have our bad days too.

You Don’t Always Need to Justify

There’s no need to feel that you have to measure up. Parenting styles can differ, greatly. Many people are pushing their own agendas, and whilst you might not agree with their decisions, it does not mean that they are wrong. The same applies to you. Its all about choice. Parenthood is NOT a competition. We are all in it together. In the end – we ALL just want what’s best for our kids.

How liberating to relinquish the need to strive to meet other people’s expectations.

“Failure is success – if we learn from it.”

You Matter Too

As parents we are wanting to make sure everyone is happy – that’s natural and commendable. But when you place yourself too far down your own agenda – you are sending two messages :

1 ) You don’t matter as much as everyone else

2 ) It’s important to put others first all the time

What sort of message is that sending out to your child, that they/we aren’t as valuable as others?

“I wish life had a rewind button.”

It’s OK to Break The Rules

Whilst rules and regulations are important – and kids thrive when there are boundaries. These boundaries do not have to be written in stone. We all need a degree of flexibility.

“The main problem with teenagers” – is that they’re just like their parents were at their age.

“You Are Their Parent And Not Their Friend”

Yes. BUT – that does not mean that you cannot be their friend as well. My friends are straight up with me and tell me what I need to hear. The very fact that they ARE my friends, reminds me that they have my best interests at heart and therefore I WILL listen to them. So whoever said you cannot be both (in my opinion) may be needing that “distance” in order to maintain their own “authority”. Experience has told me that parenting a teen is a double-act. A bit like learning ballroom dancing – to begin with we get a lot of the steps wrong – but soon enough it starts to take shape. AND, you are most definitely allowed to enjoy each other’s company along the way! Parenting a teen does not have to be a “them and us” situation.

And Finally….Don’t Assume

When you make assumptions about your child’s behaviour and intentions, chances are that they may not be 100% correct. Worse still, it shows them that you don’t trust them completely ( I know, I know – you’re not supposed to ) But do give your teen the benefit of the doubt. Have faith. Your teen is a work in progress and allow them to develop at their own pace…. Most of us turn out OK in the end.

Are you about to enter the teen era? What do you think of the advice above? Or perhaps you are already in the teens and have some advice to share? Do leave a comment below.

10 things to know when parenting a teenager

Author bio : Cai Graham is a mum, parenting coach, entrepreneur and author of The TEEN Toolbox available at Amazon here and available to download as an app here on iOS and android . For more information visit her website www.caigraham.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and You Tube

Picture credit: Designed by Freepik


  1. Teenage years (or there a outs, as development rates vary. Cultures may vary, etc) such a challenging time for the teenager/s, parents and all interacting with the teenager, family, etc.

    So many changes, challenges, etc. Health and Safety are important ISSUES. Though there is a need for each individual to gain independence. Yet relationships still matter, expressing love, caring, compassion, acceptance and possibly aiming to instill in each child that there is Respect for the individual. It is the unknown and uncertain aspects of the wider world that concerns us adults. In our Parental role we want our children safe and healthy. Some Risks are not worth taking. Peer pressure can impact, so good to know children’s friends, peers, etc.

    We can only aim to do our Best. Meanwhile hope that is sufficient to protect our children, loved ones. Family life is so important, and instills life lessons / skills.

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