While every generation of adolescents faces different challenges, today's adolescents are growing up in a world that is in perhaps more societal trouble than ever before.
This puts a huge burden on the adolescent, new to this road to adulthood. Adolescent parenting skills are certainly pressed as well.
Sure, in our generation, there were drugs and alcohol available, but it certainly wasn't de rigeur or so much in your face. Now, kids report that even at the middle school level, almost every substance that can be abused is readily available at school!
Kids are found to carry weapons to school, with sometimes disastrous results. A lack of supervision and adequate discipline is surely contributory.
You combine these factors with the normal developmental adolescent issues and you may well wonder, what's a parent to do? Every parent does their best, but adolescent parenting skills are far more complex than a generation ago.
Nonetheless, there are two characteristics that are still essential to good adolescent parenting: patience and a good memory.
Every parent of an adolescent knows that kids in this age group can be, shall we say, difficult and at times, somewhat or downright irrational. You say, “Good Morning, sweetie!”. The unexpected response? “I wish you'd stop calling me that! That's for babies!”
Although you meant no offense, you need to put on a smile. Apologize, letting them know it's just a sweet name you've gotten used to addressing them with and you'll try not to say it again.
Now, some of you may be raising your eyebrows, wondering why you should be apologizing to an insolent child. Don't you remember when old Aunt Ivy would pinch your teenage cheeks in front of your friends, with a “Ooh, you're just so cute!” It was mortifying.
So remember, at this age, teens are very sensitive about certain topics, just as you were. As soon as a kid hits 12 or 13, they start to feel very grown up and well able to do without your well meant advice.
So cut the kids some slack and this score and choose your battles wisely. Lord knows there are sufficient issues of merit in which to exercise your adolescent parenting skills – you certainly don't need to look for additional conflicts.
Patience is absolutely essential. Every stage of parenting requires patience, but perhaps none so much as during the adolescent years.
Dress often becomes a major issue, requiring a close examination of what's being worn to school. You don't want skirts too short or pants falling off, but again, kids are exploring their individuality, so as long as it's decent wear, don't make too much of a fuss.
What's cool today may not be so next week. They get through it and move on and mature.
Today, adolescent parenting skills need to focus on being able to communicate well with your teens, such that you can have frank discussions and real talk about the elements of society that pose great dangers to your kids.
Drug and alcohol use and abuse are rampant in the schools. Either can lead to violence. Peer pressure is great. Don't alienate your kids over the petty stuff.
Get online and check out some of the parenting forums. Browse the self help section at the bookstore. Educate yourself to their reality! It's up to you to be ahead of the curve on adolescent parenting.