My oldest child is 12 1/2 (as of this past weekend), so I have six months until I'm officially the parent of a teenager.
But I don't want to wait until then to start thinking about how to navigate these new waters. (I've been hearing how hard it's going to be ever since I was a teenager myself.)
I'm working on an article right now where I'm compiling all the best advice I've ever heard about raising teenagers (and asking readers to share their best ideas), so I asked my almost-teenager/recent-elementary-school graduate for her thoughts on the matter.
Here's what she said:
(1) You need to know your teenager better than ever before.
Know what frustrates her. Know what she's excited about. Know her favorite music, how she likes to do her hair, and what's happening with her friends.
(2) Give your teenager extra responsibilities.
There comes a point when children don't want to be treated like children anymore. They want to prove they're useful and get the chance to do hard things. Even small things, like asking Alia to get some ice and extra towels at the motel, meant a lot to her.
I thought those two points were very insightful. And I'm working on them. I really want to do this well.
Do you have any tips or ideas about raising teenagers that you'd like to share?