Keeping your teen (and your relationship with them) happy

Keeping your teen (and your relationship with them) happy

Watching your child blossom as a teenager is a wonderful – but sometimes stressful – time. Here are some tips to help you negotiate those up-and-down years.

It’s happened: your baby is now a teenager. And you’re mentally preparing yourself for fluctuating hormones, slamming doors and seeing less and less of them as they want to hang out with their friends and not their “embarrassing” parents.

However, despite the common misconception, teenagers aren’t total terrors. In fact, it can be a wonderful time, when you watch your child blossom and you can grow closer as a true friendship forms between you.

To help achieve this, here are some steps to ensure the teenage years are smooth sailing for everyone involved (well, most of the time!).

Give them space – but set ground rules

Your teen will probably be showing signs of wanting to be more independent. As they build friendships at school, become more interested in boys or girls and get more social invitations, it’s inevitable that you will need to start allowing them to have more freedom.

Your priority, of course, is their safety, so make sure you set firm but fair ground rules. For example, you need to know where they are, and they should have a fully charged phone with them so they can let you know if that changes – or be contactable if you need them.

Set a reasonable time that they need to be home by and, ideally, there should be a trusted adult present, or at least a peer you know well. Ask your teen to let you know that person’s contact details and vice versa in case of an emergency.

Let them know why you need to set these rules and what the punishment will be if they break them – and stick to it.

Also, while it’s important to give them more space, make sure you still have regular family time too, perhaps even reserving a set time of the week to make it a tradition. For example, Sundays could be all about having a family roast dinner together and a movie or games night. For more tips on making family mealtimes matter, click here.

Set a good example

If a teenager respects you, they are much more likely to respect your rules. “Do as I say, not as I do” isn’t going to cut it with a teen, so quit smoking, cut down on alcohol, eat well and lead an active and positive lifestyle.

Your teen will be watching and learning from you about what it means to act like an adult, so behave as you would want your teenager to behave – at least in front of them. You can continue to act your shoe size behind closed doors!


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Feed them well

Your child does a lot of growing in their teenage years, so you need to keep them well fuelled to prevent them from feeling tired and getting “hangry”.

Bulk up meals with vegetables: for example, throw tomatoes, peppers and courgettes into spag bol, spinach into scrambled eggs, and use mashed avocado in sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.

or snacks, keep a well-stocked fruit bowl out on the counter for easy access, as well as jars of nuts and dried fruit instead of a biscuit tin.

In fact it’s best to keep junk food ¬out of the house altogether. This may seem strict, but they’ll probably eat enough junk when they’re out with their friends, so this way you can at least watch what they eat at home.

This should also get them in the habit of reaching for fruit rather than biscuits when they’re hungry – a habit that could last a lifetime. It won’t do you any harm either!

Be approachable

The great thing about having a teenager is that they can also become your friend. So build that relationship by letting them know you are always there to listen and there’s nothing they can do that’s so bad you’ll stop loving them – so they can come to you with anything.

The teenage years are a rollercoaster of physical and emotional changes, so make sure you support them and equip them with the knowledge and advice to help them through, whether it’s a friendship fall-out, an unrequited crush, or dealing with a school bully.

Talk to them openly about puberty, so they understand the changes they’re going through, and remind yourself to make allowances for hormonal mood swings.

When it comes to periods, help your daughter to be as comfortable as possible by teaching her to soothe cramps with a hot water bottle, gentle exercise and, if needed, pain killers.

Also make sure she uses the right protection by shopping for Always Ultra MyFit with her. The sanitary towels come in four sizes, so she can pick the towels that suit her size and flow, which may vary at night and depending on where she is in her cycle.

Overall, while these years might have their ups and downs, embrace this time as you watch your baby grow into an adult you can be proud of.
They’ll be over before you know it!

How do you keep your teen (and your relationship with them) happy? Let us know your parenting tips in the comments section below.

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God I can't get my 15 year older boy to eat fruit apart from a cut up apple and the only veg he eats is broccoli. If any other stuff is on his plate he physically bokes it's a nightmare any tips for me? Thanks ����

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