Many children will be entering Secondary School after the summer and entering the teens years can bring a new set of challenges

Raising a Responsible Teen

Encourage and support your teenager to undertake new challenges to smooth the transition to Senior School. Use the summer as an opportunity of giving them opportunities to become more independent and self reliant. Allow them opportunities to make decisions for themselves and that teaches them to be more responsible and accountable for their decisions in the later teen years if they have had lots of opportunities to learn from making a bad decision.

Delegating to Your Teenager

I remember my daughter at twelve wanted to spend a significant amount of her birthday money on a mini fridge for her bedroom, which I knew she would regret. I found it hard to hang back and wanted her to use the money for a cd/radio player which her sisters had done at that age. Being a dominant and controlling parent however, I knew that that was my challenge and allowed her to buy the mini fridge and shortly after she lamented that she’d make a bad decision and had no radio/cd player!

Teaching Responsibility

Younger teens need to take responsibility for their actions and to live with the consequences of the decisions they make. Otherwise, how can they make the right decisions if they have had no experience in their younger years of experiencing the consequences of bad decisions.  An example could be if your teenager gets into a friends car who has been drink driving and there is an accident with a child who walks onto the road. You cannot turn the clock back, therefore ensure that your teens know they they take responsibility for their decisions and are accountable when they choose to pop a pill or drive after drinking.

Challenge Your Teen

Over the summer, perhaps a project to paint the bedroom with their parent is a great opportunity for ‘quality time’ and to teach a new skill. Allow them to decide how the room should be decorated. My daughter at 13 had selected some IKEA furniture and she put it together by herself over a weekend. I recall how good she felt in her achievement and confidence and competence are key to good self esteem. Our children need to have someone who believes that they can do it, and also that while learning that it is safe to make a mistake .

Mornings Begin the Night Before

Give them an alarm clock and allow them responsibility for getting themselves up, alternatively advise them that you will call them only ONCE! Set a

Top Tips for Parenting Teens

  • Connect into and be interested in your child’s life
  • Know what is going on for them
  • Build self esteem by mirroring their worth & goodness
  • Love your child for who they are, not what they do
  • Show you believe in them
  • Enable them by giving them opportunities
  • Help them become independent & self reliant
  • Advise against early  serious relationships
  • Get help for them if they need it
  • Seek support for yourself to handle it better
Other Resources: (Ireland’s Youth Mental Health Centre)