5 Ways to Meet Your Teens Where They Are

Adolescence is an amazing time in our lives. Everything is changing, everything feels new, and the future stretches out before us like a terrifyingly exciting mystery. Sometimes it can feel like a bit of a challenge parenting your teen, but it can help in those moments to stop and consider their perspective. It’s sometimes difficult to remember what it was like when we were in their shoes.

Parenting a teen is different from parenting younger children in many ways, but there are plenty of similarities as well. It’s important to respect them as individuals, follow their lead, and consider their developmental needs. While that may seem vastly oversimplified, it’s always helpful to have core ideas to rely on.

More than perhaps any other time in life, adolescence is a time of balance. That gradual release of independence you’ve been working on their entire lives? When you find yourself inching toward the end of the continuum, it can be hard to know what to do and when.

Your child will make mistakes. You will make mistakes. With a little grace, respect, and a good sense of humor, you will all make it through this exciting and chaotic time together. Consider these five tips to help you on your way.

1. Give Them Space

That burgeoning independence will make much more regular appearances during the teen years. Let it! It is completely normal for your child to want to spend more time with their peers, to want to do things for themselves, and to want to start making their own major decisions. These are big changes, for sure, but they are also a beautiful sign that you have encouraged your child’s independence and given them a foundation on which they have built a strong sense of confidence.

While your child isn’t an adult quite yet, they are certainly practicing to become one. If they are asking for more freedom and you’re not so sure, it can help to ask yourself the following questions:

Have they shown responsible behavior?

What are the risks associated with their request?

How can you work together to mitigate those risks?