AT NKBL, we’ve noticed increasing engagement with the advice we have available for parents, like advice on starting a conversation with your child about knife carrying, or how to encourage positive choices. Even though knife crime can be a huge source of worry, parents play an important role in knife crime prevention and there’s plenty you can do to keep your child safe.
We reached out to some experts for a mini-series on parenting. First up is Alison Clancy, Project Officer at Parenting Across Scotland. Alison is sharing the Parenting across Scotland top 10 tips for parenting teenagers.
Being a parent is not easy. The teenage years can be particularly difficult as teenagers may behave like adults one minute and children the next.
1. Conflict is normal
Conflict with your teenager is not always a bad thing – your teenager is learning to become independent. Try to stay calm. Listen to your teenager’s point of view and decide what is worth taking a stand on and what isn’t..
2. Show interest
Let your teenager know that you’re interested in what they do at home and school. Offer support with school work and revision. Keep an eye on where they are and who they are with, encourage them to talk about how they feel – but don’t turn interest into pressure.
3. Make time for talking and listening
Teenagers say that their parents do not listen to them. Let your teenager know that you have time to talk. Share your values with them but don’t impose them. If your teenager wants to talk, make time to listen.
4. Respect their views
Don’t expect teenagers to agree with everything you say. The teenage years are a time of testing opinions and people. Sometimes parents and teenagers have to agree to differ. Your teenager is more likely to respect your views if you respect theirs.
5. Encourage them
Giving encouragement and taking an interest in your teenager is as important as praising them. Praise them for their efforts and let them know when they do something that pleases you. Don’t be afraid to tell them you love them, even if you get no response.
6. Give clear guidelines
Set out clear guidelines about what’s acceptable. Tell your teenager where you’re going, who with and when you’ll be back – expect them to do the same. Teenagers need guidelines just as much as younger children – setting boundaries shows you care.
7. Give them space
We all need time for ourselves. Teenagers need their own space, time for themselves and the right not to tell their parents everything about their lives. Respect your teenager’s right to privacy and try to remember what it was like to be a teenager.
8. Share your stories
Sharing stories from your teenage years may help them understand where you are coming from as well as taking some of the pressure off them – but remember, the world has moved on since you were a teenager and young people today face a range of new challenging issues that you may never have had to deal with.
Reassure your teenager that they can come to talk with you whenever they want or need to, tell them that you are always happy for them to ask you any questions. Remember – young people need facts, and guidance to help them make decisions, but they also need to be able to share their feelings and worries.
10. Look after yourself
Parents today have a difficult job to do but parents don’t need to be perfect. Make sure you look after yourself and have people to talk to when you need to. Try to spend some time thinking about your life and priorities.
There is loads more information for parents on a range of topics like sex and relationships, education and qualifications, and wellbeing over on parentingacrossscotland.org.