Working Hard on Parenting Well Pays Off
by Kathy Slattengren, M. Ed., Priceless Parenting (more parenting articles are available)
Being a parent certainly presents plenty of difficult challenges (who can ever forget trying to stay cool, calm and collected while your child has a meltdown!). However, the time and energy you put into becoming the best possible parent you can be starts paying off when your children become teenagers. Now that my youngest recently turned 13 and my oldest is 16 we are starting to enjoy the benefits.
They're teens who are generally responsible, helpful and a lot of fun to have around. Did we just get lucky? No, we spent a lot of time learning from parenting experts and then invested significant time and energy into changing our own behavior. We spent years practicing things like responding with empathy instead of anger to misbehavior, guiding our children to solving their own problems instead of solving it for them and avoiding lecturing, yelling or nagging.
They are not rebellious teenagers because they don't have a reason to be rebellious. At this point they are in control of most of the important decisions in their lives like: when/where/how to do homework, who to hang out with, what to do with their free time, how to handle time commitment conflicts, when to go to bed and when to get up. We've slowly built up their level of freedom and responsibility over the years so that they now have the skills to make wise decisions.