Parenting teenagers requires a delicate touch. Saying or doing the wrong thing may cause them to draw away from you and your family, which is something no parent wants to see. It can tear families apart.
Yet, sometimes the best way to close the gap between you and your teens is to allow them some distance. It’s natural for kids to become more distant from their parents as they grow and develop. It’s part of gaining independence and discovering themselves as separate beings from those around them.
Sometimes the best solution to behavioral problems is allowing them the space and respect they need to grow independently. However, you have to be careful when doing this. If you allow too much space, your teen may end up out of reach. Here are some suggestions for giving teens space without losing them.
Designate Quiet Spaces
Provide places your teens can go without being disturbed sometimes. Their bedrooms, a tree house, or a special spot in the backyard all fit into this category. It’s good to give your teens some alone time, but it’s better if they can be alone at home. That way you know they aren’t getting into trouble.
Don’t call them the “designated quiet spaces” in front of your teen. That will counteract the purpose. Instead, create a silent mantra not to disturb your teens when they need time to cool off.
Give Them Boundaries
Alone time is great if it can be slightly regulated. You can do this by creating boundaries, whether formal or informal. Make your teens aware of the boundaries you’ve set so they know they’ll be in trouble if they cross the line. Hold yourself accountable to your rules as well.
Don’t Make All Their Decisions
Parents of troubled teens often want to make all the decisions. When your teens struggle with behavioral problems, it’s hard to trust their decision-making skills. However, this is an important requirement because it allows them to learn from their mistakes and grow into their own independence. Taking away the power to make choices is like taking away their agency, and they won’t respond well.
While you must give your teen some space, don’t let go entirely. It’s tempting to throw your hands in the air and let things happen as they will, but it’s still your reasonability to guide your troubled teens, even if they don’t seem interested in what you do or say. Behaviors will test your limits, but you can get through this difficult time, and your teens will thank you later for your perseverance.
Give Your Son the Space He Needs at Liahona Academy
Oftentimes the best way to give your teens space is to send them away. Liahona Academy is an all-boy therapeutic boarding school with your son’s best interest in mind. For more information about the strong values and behavioral strategies he can learn, call us at 1-800-675-8101.