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You’ve seen them grow in confidence over the years, and now it’s time to slowly unthread the tether. As they find their way in the world, it can be easy to stay stuck in a very stagnant mindset, especially as you’ve seen them grow from a curious toddler to independent, predominantly moody, teenager. The teenage years can be particularly challenging, and we can easily look at one facet and let this color our entire attitude toward how we should parent our kids. However, we’ve got to let them be their own person while also making sure that we reduce our anxieties about parenting a teen. So, if you are experiencing anxieties about your teen, here are a number of ways to cope with it.
Accept That You Are Concerned
“Call your mother; she worries” is a very common piece of advice to children, and we all know how we can have one little thought spiral out of control in our minds, usually at that time just before we go to sleep. So, whatever your concern is about, perhaps they’re starting to drive, so they are having more freedom, or they are getting ready to go away to college, you’ve got to make peace with the fact that you are concerned, but you don’t need to let it override your abilities to parent.
We can easily worry about the statistics a car accident lawyer may provide about car crashes and injuries that occur in children under the age of 18, but there is no need to beat yourself up about the fact that you’re just worried! We want to keep our children safe, and this feeling is manifesting itself as anxiety. Making peace with the fact that we are worried is absolutely fine, but when we are anxious, and this anxiety is all too regular, this is when we have to start addressing some of the realities.
Confront Your Fears
Sometimes a simple dose of statistics can be all that we need to alleviate our fears. If you have anxieties that your child is going to have a car accident or you worry they are going to start taking drugs, you need to look at how rooted in reality your anxieties are. Sometimes we need to learn the facts to make us understand if our fears are unfounded, but what if your fears are rooted in reality?
Part of the reason we worry about our children is because we may have an unconscious belief that we haven’t done enough for them. If we are to raise children who have a healthy attitude toward the world and are self-sufficient, we’ve got to let them find their own way, albeit in a safe environment where they are able to make mistakes.
If you are concerned that your child is going to end up in a car accident, what can you do to lessen these risks? If they’ve passed their driving test, scheduling additional lessons may be something that can ease your concerns, however, there may be a bone of contention if your child just wants to get on the road. The big problem we’ve got as parents is that we can worry to the point that we are paralyzed with fear, and it can cloud our perception of our children, but it also means that we’re less likely to take the practical steps that reduce our children’s risks. This is why you may benefit from taking more practical steps to alleviate your fears.
Look at How You Can Reduce Your Anxieties
While it’s normal to have concerns about our children’s well-being, we should remember that part of the reason we feel like this is because of the doubts in our abilities to be a good parent. By the time they’ve reached their teenage years, we have to trust that what we’ve taught them earlier on will guide them, whether we are there or not. We need to prepare them to make the right decisions in life, and they will learn this either indirectly through the decisions we make or directly through the wisdom we impart on them.
Reducing our anxieties is partly about trusting in ourselves, which is not always so easy, which is why we then need to alleviate our fears through a support network. No matter how bad we think we’ve done so far, that common notion of parental guilt is present in almost every parent, and those who don’t have it probably couldn’t get less about their children anyway! Sometimes we need to remember that, actually, it’s okay to be riddled with worry, but we need to understand that while we can take solace in the fact that parents are experiencing similar anxieties, we need to stop the worries taking over our lives.
A calm and balanced parent is far better equipped to handle challenges and support their children, which is why it’s so essential to take care of your physical and mental health. A racing mind is synonymous with anxieties, and while there is an abundance of tools to learn to calm yourself down, you need to practice them on a regular basis. It’s also worth pointing out that you may be worried about what can happen because you’re not there to protect them, but at the same time, you need to consider the negative effects of being overprotected. Helicopter parenting is an easy trap to fall into as well.
Being the parent of a teenager can be a roller coaster of emotions that you will ride all too regularly. However, we must come to understand that we can ease our worries by building a stronger relationship with them, while also recognizing that this is the time in their lives when they are learning to be who they are. It’s at this stage of life that you are more a guide rather than an enforcer of rules, and while we should learn to quell our anxiety, we must also remember that we need to change our role at this point as well.