Dealing With a Difficult Teenager Never are parenting skills more tested than during the teenage years. When children are caught between childhood and adulthood, they sometimes act like infants. Almost all parents get through the teenage years and so can you. Even teenagers continue to require well-defined boundaries and definitive consequences for stepping over those boundaries. Make sure your teenager knows what the rules are. Give them a specific curfew for each night of the week. Discuss alcohol, drugs and sex with your children. Even if it is a bit uncomfortable for you or them, children need to know that they can talk to their parents about anything. If you fight with your teenager about every curse word that comes out of their mouths, every instance of disrespect and every blatant disregard for other people, you will be fighting all the time. Although you should always stick to your rules, do not make everything a life or death battle. You need to choose your battles and fight over the issues that are most important to you and that will have long-term effects for your children. The use of illicit drugs, smoking and underage drinking should not be tolerated. Even though your teenager will probably try these things, their regular use is unacceptable. The issue of going to school should also not be a question. Children are sometimes disrespectful in an attempt to get attention. Do not fall into that trap. You may remind your child that disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated, give them consequences for their bad behavior or simply ignore it. If you chose to fight about every instance of disrespect, you will overshadow the more important issues. Know what your children are doing and who they are spending time with. Allow them to have friends over so you can get to know them a little. Stay in contact with your teenager's school and make sure they notify you of all absences. Many schools now have information about grades, attendance and tardiness available for parents to view online. Allow your teenager to enjoy some privacy. Teenagers will spend more time alone and less time interacting with family members. This is normal behavior. Of course, you need to make sure your children do not have anything dangerous, such as guns or other weapons in their rooms, but do not snoop. As long as your teenagers continue to live up to their responsibilities, continue to give them more freedom. Children need to know that their parents trust them as they make the transition from childhood to adulthood. Try to have some sympathy and remember how difficult being a teenager was for you. Your children have enough friends. They need you to be a parent. Strong adult role models will help children understand what they are striving to become. Although you want your children to understand that you are available to talk about their needs and difficulties, you are still their parent. You can survive your children's teenage years. Eventually their hormones calm down and they become adults. Once they realize their place in life, they become adults with whom you can get along.
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