Raising teens: Gifts parents can give them – Part 2

Teenagers are growing and developing at a rapid rate, which might be stressful for parents. Let’s explore gifts parents can give their teens to help them develop a healthy relationship.

A mother and teen daughter cooking in a kitchen together.

Parents may struggle to navigate parenting teenagers who are rapidly changing not only physically but socially, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Michigan State University Extension believes a loving and supportive relationship is the foundation of successful parenting in the teen years.

In this article, we are going to explore the last five gifts from the book “10 Best Gifts for Your Teen, Raising Teens with Love and Understanding” by Patt and Steve Saso. Part 1 explored the first five. The authors lay out strategies and gifts parents can use to help youth learn, grow and understand during this ever-changing developmental period into adulthood.

The last five gifts are as follows.

Resolve. Parent with a purpose. Be consistent in your parenting and say what you mean and mean what you say. Parents should make sure to assert their values, set clear limits and follow through with appropriate consequences when those limits are broken. Parental resolve means sticking with your decisions and, again, being consistent.

Recognition. Honor teens for their successes, hard work and strengths. Some ways to do this include affirming positive behavior, affirming personality qualities, saying “I love you,” writing a letter to them, trusting them, attending their events and accepting them for the person they are. You will help teens see their value in the world with your love and support.

Reconciliation. Reconciliation involves admitting mistakes and includes forgiveness on the part of the one who is wronged. Reconciling helps build healing and is needed to continue relationships. You may have to have hard conversations with your teens if you have made mistakes, and you may want to discuss how you want to learn from them.

Release. This gift involves letting go and giving teens freedom. Parents sometimes struggle with this because it is hard, but teens need responsibility and freedom coupled with a caring support system that will be there if they need it. Parents need to provide opportunities for youth to explore and make decisions on their own.

Role model. Be the example of what you want your teens to be. Parents should model the behaviors that they want their teen to use. If you want kind, respectful, responsible teens, then you need to show them what that looks like. If parents are willing to make mistakes and learn from them, then their teens will do the same thing.

Teen and parent relationships can be challenging but also very rewarding. Remember that adolescent development is a phase. Changes are taking place in every aspect of their development and they need parents that love, support and understand their needs. Sharing all 10 gifts with them can help build your relationship with them and help them grow into successful adults.

Visit the MSU Extension Parent Education website to find more parenting education information as well as classes that can help you develop strategies with your teens.

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