How To Deal With A Teenager As A Single Parent

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Dealing with a teenager is hard enough with all hands on deck, but when you are a single parent it may be far more challenging to connect with your child. The teenage years are tough on your kids. They go through big hormonal and physical changes and start to exercise their independence and free will. This is also a period of conflict as they grapple with the values that you have taught them and the experiences they encounter. But this doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. You can learn to deal with your teenager as a single parent by fostering a deeper connection with them. This way you can help them mature and always be a part of their lives. Would you like to know how to achieve this? Read on to find out!

1. Interact With Your Teen

Interact With Your Teen

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Whether it’s doing an activity they like, listening to them intently when they open up to you or just talking to them on a regular basis, you must make time to interact with your teen. Sure, they don’t need you the way your younger kids do. They won’t cling to you or whine when you don’t give them attention but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need your counsel and guidance from time to time. Continuing that strong bond you had with your child when they were younger is all about finding ways to spend quality time with them. If they’ve outgrown going to the mall and getting milkshakes try a different activity. Take an interest in their interests and see how you can be involved. Maybe you and your child can learn a new skill together or go shopping for skincare!

Also remember to make one-on-one time with your teen. It’s hard for them to open up to you when you are distracted or occupied with taking care of the other kids. Go for a drive or a walk and find a quiet place where you can talk without being interrupted. When they try to communicate their struggles with you, listen to them and show them you care.

2. Don’t Try To Lecture Them

Don’t Try To Lecture Them

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The worst thing you can do while your teen is trying to be transparent with you is to go on a tangent and start to lecture them. Parents have a tendency to talk down to their kids which can build up a wall between the two of you. Your children still need discipline when they are teenagers but instead of punishments and screaming matches, find meaningful ways to hold them accountable so that they know where they have gone wrong. Show them that you respect them and expect better from them by skipping the condescending lectures. The general rule is to talk with them and not at them.

Lecturing your child will only make them shut down and shut you out. They are not going to listen to you. Instead, tell them why you are concerned about the decisions they’ve been making and how they may have undesirable consequences. Then ask them why they have been making these decisions and tell them you can come up with a solution together. Remember, you are on their team.

3. Allow Your Teen To Have A Hand In Setting Up Household Rules

Allow Your Teen To Have A Hand In Setting Up Household Rules

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As they get older give your teen the opportunity to spread their wings and explore being responsible and independent. A good way to start this is to give them a say in setting up household rules. Let them negotiate curfews and bedtime. You may think this is silly but doing this helps them develop maturity and improves cooperation between you. Set clear expectations about appropriate behavior, but also give them a voice. Have your teen come up with a list of rules that they think are reasonable and fair. Create your own list and then sit down and compromise.

For example, if your teen wants a weekend curfew at 11pm and you want the curfew to be 9pm, you can settle for 10 pm. If they want a weekly allowance over your budget, you can give them 50% of what they are asking for and tell them that they can work part time for the rest. This way you are both on the same page, have an open line of communication and an understanding.

4. Respect Their Privacy

Respect Their Privacy

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As your child grows up they are going to need some privacy. They may form romantic attachments and may begin to explore their sexuallity. All this is normal behavior. Sit down and talk to your child about these changes and establish boundaries. If you don’t want your son having girls over when you are not around that’s completely valid. But make sure to respect their privacy too. They have a lot to figure out and they’d prefer to do it alone. Let them know that they can come to you with any questions and leave it at that.

The teen years can be tough on you as a parent. But hold on, we promise it gets better. All you need to do is take a few steps to assure that you and your teen are solid. Happy parenting!

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Kezia John

Kezia holds a deep interest in writing about women adapting to motherhood and childcare. She writes on several topics that help women navigate the joys and responsibilities of being a new mom and celebrate every stage of their baby's development. When she is not writing for MomJunction, she sings in a classical Western choir and reads endlessly.