Well, maybe not, but it’s a toss-up. Given that this site is intended to talk about being a parent, amoung other things, I thought I should do a post on parenting advice for teens. After all, aside from the “terrible twos,” which really aren’t all that bad, being the parent of a teen is the most trying part of being a parent for many of us.
The thing is, I am not sure I can really give advice. I mean, I’m just a dad like any other. I don’t have any Oprah-like advice to dole out. I have my days where I feel like I am just barely hanging on… but… My son is a good kid. I have a lot of trust in him. I know that while he may make some silly mistakes and questionable decisions, he has a good heart and will try to do the right thing.
While it may seem at times that some alien creature has taken over his body (which has grown with frightening speed over the past year or so) and he may appear to be on a quest to turn my hair grey or drive me screaming into the streets, there are also moments where the little boy he was shines through. As much as he wants to appear mature, he is still a kid. It’s easy sometimes– especially now that he’s officially the tallest person in the family and soon to need a razor– to think that he is all grown up; he can do pretty much everything by himself. It’s not that he needs us for much anymore, aside from a bit of nagging about homework or cleaning his room.
Except that he does need us.
Contrary to what he might think sometimes, he doesn’t have all the answers. Neither do we as parents, but we have a much better chance of finding them together, and I think that may be one bit of advice that I could give: work with your kids instead of trying to control everything, especially as they get older. Let them make their own decision where possible. there’s nothing wrong with that. You maintain the power to veto what you disagree with, but letting them start to decide things for themselves when possible is a good thing.
More than anything else, though, I think the best advice I can give in regards to parenting a teen is this: raise the best pre-teen that you can. Raise the best young child that you can. Raise the best toddler and baby that you can. By the time your kid is a teen, they are largely set on the path that they are going to walk. The easiest way to know that your teen has a level head, is trustworthy and a good decent person, is to know all that about them before they reach their teens.
Having kids is the best job in the world. So cliché, I know, but very true. My kids are the greatest part of my life. My son is growing into a wonderful man and I know he’ll be great so long as we can get through the raging hormones and crazy mood-swings.
So yeah, I guess there won’t really be much in the way of advice on this site after all. I’ll write about our experiences, things that we go through and how we survive them, but the only real advice to be had is just common sense: be with your kids as much as you can. get to know them. Be there for them when they need you and give them space when it’s safe to do so. Love them, trust them, have fun with them, because they’re awesome.