How to Raise Happy, Healthy Teenagers

Teenagers may seem like a different species at times, but they do eventually grow into adults. The teenage years are a transition period. It is a time when a gangly youth transforms into a self-assured young adult. For many parents, this period in their offspring’s life is a difficult one, punctuated by screaming rows, bad moods, and plenty of slamming doors. Most families get through the teenage years relatively unscathed, but if you are concerned your teenager is becoming increasingly obnoxious, here are some tips to help you raise a happy and healthy teenager.

Listen to Your Teen

Plenty of parents say they listen to their teenager, but do you really listen? Teenagers are going through a difficult time in their life and they need to know they can speak about their hopes, ideas, and crazy thoughts without you shutting the conversation down because you are too busy.
We all live busy lives, but listening is an important skill. Listening helps you pick up when things are not quite right or your teenager is falling in with the wrong crowd. Sometimes, a cry for help is a very quiet whisper, so listen carefully or you might miss the warning signs all is not well.

Don’t be Judgmental

Teenagers all go through weird phases. Some grow their hair long or experiment with drugs (and end up in a drug treatment center). Others discover the joy of violent video games or deliberately choose friends you know are unsuitable. The point is not to be too judgmental.
Think back to when you were a teenager. I bet you did all kinds of crazy things and drove your parents insane. It’s perfectly normal and most teens go through a rebellious phase where they test the limits of your love.
Try to be accepting (within reason) and give them a bit of freedom to experiment with who and what they are. Eventually, this phase will end and your sulky, lazy teenager will turn into a hard-working, polite young man or woman.

Show Respect

Teenagers deserve respect. Being respectful of your teenager’s space and privacy gives them a chance to evolve into a happy, well-adjusted adult. Respect their need to sleep late or to eat a vegetarian diet if that is what they feel like doing. Be their rock in the background and let them know you are there to pick up the pieces if they make a mistake.

Instigate Boundaries

Your teenager needs some freedom, but boundaries are important, too. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell your teenager they must be home by a set time. Many teenagers feel compelled to rebel and push the boundaries, but having no boundaries can be dangerous, even if you would rather avoid a confrontation.

Show Some Love

Tell your teenager you love them as often as possible, even when they are being vile. Say something like “I don’t like how you are behaving right now, but I still love you”. By showing love and making it clear you are there if they need you, your teen is far more likely to confide in you when they have a problem.

Are you having issues with your teenager? Let us know in the comments.

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