Parenting: Earning Respect from Your Teenager
Parenting—Teenagers are making their way to adulthood and finding out who they are. They tend to follow the ways of their friends and trends more than their their parents’ advice. This is an age where your kids are becoming more independent and aren’t afraid to tell you 'no.' They start to act more like adults and, likewise, have a mind of their own. Change your perspective of how to receive respect from your teen from gaining respect to earning respect. Though you deserve respect, as you already raised them all through childhood (shouldn’t that be enough?), teens want to be shown that you deserve the respect they give you.
How to Earn Respect from Your Teen
Give Them Responsibilities
Teenagers are in that gap between childhood and adulthood where they need some of the responsibilities of an adult but still need the playtime and educational growth of a child. Teenagers these days tend to have a lot of responsibilities as more opportunities are available for them. Running from soccer practice to work to internships to piano practice and then fitting in homework can wear them out just as much as your busy day does.
Depending on your teen’s schedule, give them other responsibilities within the home and with the family to help them see and practice responsibilities beyond those for themselves. Above all, don’t let them be lazy! As they run around and struggle getting their responsibilities done for the day, they will realize how busy you are, as well, and will be more inclined to help you and respect what you do.
Realize What They Do
With all of these responsibilities, it is important that you recognize the steps they go through to get praise from you. The common mom attitude is “They don't even know how much I do for them. They wouldn’t have clean clothes, a cell phone, or food in the pantry. Plus I have bills to pay, work, and a PTA meeting at 6:00.” While your tasks may seem larger than life, your teen feels the same way about their tasks: “I work hard to get good grades, stay active, and get involved so I can get a scholarship for college. Plus I have to go to work to save money, plan the next school assembly, and volunteer at the animal shelter at 4:30.” Though it may seem simple to you, their life is filled to capacity with as much they know how to handle. Acknowledge their endeavors and the things they do when they aren’t asked. Teens want you to realize how hard they try.
Be Honest and Open
Don’t be afraid to acknowledge your faults and tell stories from your teen years. As you give your teens advice, they are only going to accept your advice if they respect you. Instead of simply telling them what they can and cannot do, give them adequate reasoning. Share examples from your own life and the mistakes you’ve made or the choices you made that ended up being the right ones. Let them know why you want them home before 11:30 instead of just telling them that they need to be home or they suffer the consequences. Their respect for you will grow as you give them reason to trust your judgment.
Show Them Respect
If you want respect from them, you need to respect them as well. There is a happy medium between treating your teens less like a child and more like an adult. Teens need to be given some of the responsibilities of an adult along with the respect that comes along with that, but that doesn’t mean they should be left to do everything on their own. They still need you to be there to answer the questions they have regarding their new responsibilities, and be there to fill in the gaps they can’t get to themselves, such as running to the store to pick up the glue they need for a final project while they are at soccer practice. Work hand in hand, together as a team. Do things for them and have them do things for you, in turn their respect for you, as well as other adults, will grow.
Do you have teenagers? How do you work with your teens to garner mutual respect and love?
Feature image courtesy of Flickr.