There is no right way to raise a teenager. Whether you’re ready or not, your child will eventually reach the point of adolescence. Because of our city’s festive atmosphere, parenting teens in New Orleans may produce even more challenges. It is important to know you are not alone in your struggles. The following are some suggestions about how to ease the burden you may be feeling.
Set Fair Boundaries
One of the most difficult parts of raising an adolescent is trying to balance when to compromise and when to set firm rules. When you are facing this kind of dilemma, don’t go it alone. It will help to talk it through with your partner or a friend who is also raising a teen. Chances are good you will feel less isolated and more confident in your decision.
From peer pressure to puberty, teens have to deal with a lot of complicated milestones. Don’t forget that you were a teenager once too. This is the time to work hard to see your child’s perspective and show them love. Offer your ear for the serious issues as well as the more lighthearted ones. Your interest in your teen’s life will pay off. Although you may be getting signals that say the opposite, your teen needs you. There is nothing more comforting than having a supportive parent to lean on.
Make Safety a Top Priority
Every year, millions of people visit New Orleans to celebrate birthdays, attend bachelor/bachelorette parties, festivals, and of course, Mardi Gras. As expected, many party-goers will be doing their fair share or drinking and smoking. Teens are often tempted to join in on the celebration. Be firm and clear in your rules around this. Don’t be afraid to set limits, talk with your child’s friends’ parents and ultimately, to trust your gut.
Talk About Sex
Sex is a subject both parents and teens shy away from. Not only does puberty cause a noticeable change in appearance, but it can also trigger a noticeable change in emotions. It will make a difference if you are the one to begin the conversation about sex with your teen. It can be really helpful to read a book together, offer explanations to your teen’s questions and most of all to validate all of the uncomfortable feelings that often arise during this time. If you don’t give your child the facts about sex, the likelihood is your child will feel isolated and hesitant to approach you with questions, problems or concerns.
The Presence of Social Media
Social media use is an integral part of being a teenager today. While social media sites can be entertaining and even educational, we are all aware that they have a dark side as well. Parents are faced with concerns ranging from the impact on schoolwork to cyberbullying to sexting. Our advice for parents in New Orleans is to be actively involved in your teens’ digital footprint. However, do not navigate this task alone. Parents of today’s teens did not grow up with social media and they are not supposed to have it figured out. Seek out support from your child’s school, the internet and other parents. Know your teens passwords, check their phones and most importantly ask questions of your teen so it is clear you are paying attention.
Seek Professional Help
Being proactive when you feel overwhelmed by parenting a teenager (or any age child) is strongly suggested. An outside perspective and a professional to assist you in developing a plan will bring you one step closer to alleviating the tension you are holding inside. Contact Dr. Arian Elfant today and get the help you need.