Parenting isn’t easy. There’s no all inclusive instruction manual for each youth that parents can simply open up and know what the correct actions, responses, and verbal responses are best for ideal relationships with their children. Because of this parents need guidance from their teenagers. Here are some effective strategies for teens who want to raise good parents:
- Help parents understand you.
Show them the real you. Share your struggles and your triumphs. Be honest about your feelings. Share what you’re thinking about. Let them know the things you like, the things that you don’t like, and the things that you want to experience. Share the things you discover about yourself and about life. Also share with them when something changes. A change of tastes, of thinking, or of behavior may not always be obvious to even those who you best. Parents are sometimes so busy with other responsibilities that they may not notice that something has changed. Give your parents time to adjust to the changes in your life and the person you are becoming and also to grow alongside you as you mature and grow. Parents don’t always realize that you aren’t a perfect kid. Sometimes you have to let them know the real you as well as the person you are becoming!
- Try to Understand your parents.
Ask questions when you don’t understand. Sometimes parents have a hard time saying what they really mean. And when they do say something, listen to them. They are usually much more exciting than teachers and they care much more about you! This also teaches your parents how to talk. If you aren’t careful they will forget how to talk.
- Treat your parents the way you want to be treated.
You may be a child, but parents are God’s children. God will discipline them if they step out of line. Remember that parents are people too. They have their own needs, their own struggles, and their own feelings. While you are very important to them, you are not the only thing in their lives. They have work, responsibilities, and their own relationships too. Give the same unconditional love that God gives to all of us. Parents aren’t perfect, and they will make mistakes, just as every other person does – yourself included. Be willing to forgive and to love them in spite of their mistakes and human flaws. Give honest answers to questions. Parents somehow seem to have the whole world bugged and find the truth anyway. This helps keep your parents from sneaking around without your supervision.
- Set a good example for your parents
Staying away from alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and pre-marital sex. Parents tend to copy the language, styles, and tastes of the young as it makes them feel young again. The example you set for your parents is very important. Also, be careful so that your room is clean and sets a good example. Never, ever do anything to betray your parents’ trust in you. When your parents lose trust in you, you wind up losing much more than just trust! Put your parents before yourself. Let them know that they are important to someone!
- Spend time with your parents experiencing life together.
Say “yes” when they ask you to do something together with them. Let them know you are not ashamed to be with them. You will be surprised how important it makes them feel when you want to do something with them. This also gives them opportunities to learn to be a better parent.
- Encourage your parents.
Sometimes parents get depressed, confused and hesitant. They need encouragement! Appreciate the things they do right. Parents need to know when they are doing a good job. It’s always easy to notice things a person is not doing right, but it takes special effort to appreciate the things they do right instead of taking them for granted. Instead of focusing on the negatives, celebrate the positives once in a while. Compliment them on a great meal, for great advice, or for specific things that they do that you appreciate. Better yet, write it in a small note. Everyone likes to be appreciated for a job well done and it also helps let them know the things that matter to you in the relationship. Praise also makes people want to do even better. Brag about your parents once in a while. Let them know you are proud of them!
- Talk to your parents the way you want them to talk to you.
Be careful with your tone and avoid accusations and whining. Avoid raising your voice to your parents at any time—One sure way to start an argument with misunderstandings and hurt feelings is to raise your voice during a discussion. Share how YOU feel about situations rather than what they DID in the situation. And if you really need to talk about something, ask politely if they can give you a few minutes to discuss something that is important to you. If they are busy, set a time when you can talk. There was a time in your life, as a child, when you told your parents everything. Now they have to do a lot of guesswork unless you take time to let them know what’s happening in your life and what is important to you. Two-way communication is important to any relationship.
- Pray for your parents.
They really need your prayers. Parents need divine wisdom. They also have needs of their own. It is often hard to balance the stress of their personal lives and of work with the daily responsibilities as a parent. Let God change your parent’s minds; that’s His job, not yours. He’s been raising parents for a very long time. The older you get, the harder it is to change. Let God do any changing that needs to be done and you just love them as they are and pray they grow up to be good parents.
- Take good care of your parents.
Be concerned about the outside activities of your parents. Insist that they bring their friends home so you can meet them. Be sure they get to bed at a reasonable hour, especially on weeknights. Wouldn’t want them to burn themselves out would you? Also makes things much nicer in the morning if everyone has had some good sleep. Carefully watch your parents activities in the home. The effects of television on adults isn’t the best these days. Daytime soap operas are much too strong for most mothers and dad’s may not be able to handle all the violence, sex and bad language on late night shows, especially after a hard day’s work. You also don’t want them to pick up bad language. At least once a week do something nice for your parents. The key is to do something before they ask. You’d be surprised at the results and the crazy looks they get on their faces.
- Don’t be too strict with your parents. Allow them to have some access to the phone, the stereo and the car once in a while. Let your parents have their own way sometimes, especially with the little things. If you show you are willing to give in sometimes, they are more likely to cooperate when it is a big deal for you. Choose your battles. While it may be tempting to fight at every opportunity, not everything is the end of the world. Let them win a fight once in a while. Then when you need to discuss the really serious things, they will take you more seriously. Also realize that there are some rules, that if you provide a good argument may be negotiable and there are others that have no chance of a change. Take the first steps to remedy problems. Sometime parents may not realize that there is a problem.
If you do all these things you are more likely to raise good parents!
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