Parenting teens can be challenging, but it can also bring immense joy. However, during difficult situations, turning to time-tested, evidence-based strategies for parenting can be helpful, regardless of age. Whether parents are dealing with the “terrible twos” or with a teen mental health crisis, having a toolkit for keeping calm, creating a harmonious household and relating to their children in positive ways can be invaluable.
In order to help raise a healthy, well-rounded and respectful teen, parents must remind themselves that they are the role models for their children. The way they conduct themselves shows children what it looks like to be authentic and mature, and will consciously -- and unconsciously -- affect their actions. When helping children develop these positive traits, parents should clarify how they expect a child to treat others and conduct themselves outside the home. This belief system and set of values will determine what boundaries are set, for everything from dating to household chores.
In addition to setting a good example, it's important for parents to be skillful listeners. Research has shown that brain patterns synchronize when people listen closely to one another and watch each other's expression. Not feeling truly heard can lead to isolation and lack of self-esteem -- the root causes of anxiety, depression and substance abuse.
While reinforcing good behavior through example is vital to reducing instances of mental illness, taking charge of a child's physical health is equally important. At the top of this list is getting a good night’s sleep, which puts everyone in a better mood and allows teens and parents to be rested for the next day. In order to foster a good night's sleep, parents should consider setting an electronic curfew, establishing a set bedtime and keeping bedrooms cool and dark.
Above all, raising a teen requires expressing unconditional love. Multiple studies have revealed the positive effects of unconditional love, as well as the negative results when children do not receive it. Our early relationships play a huge part in how we form attachments, both as kids and adults.
To learn more about the teen mental health services offered by Newport Academy, click here.