Adeline Cid – Contributing Writer
It is not easy to build a relationship with a teen. Teens are subject to ever-changing emotions and the things that worked yesterday or a year ago may or may not work today. At the same time, adolescents need a strong relationship with their parents more than ever. Following are some dad-teen relationship guidelines that every father and stepfather will want to pay attention to and take into serious consideration.
Affection is a big topic. The fact is that all children need appropriate affection. Hugs, kisses on the cheek, pats on the back and a hand on the shoulder all show a child that he or she is loved. Fathers, and especially stepfathers, may find it awkward to hug their teen daughters or sons. However, this does not mean that simple affection is to be shunned. In fact, teens need physical affection just as much as they did when they were little. Give a hug, a pat on the back or a squeeze on the shoulder regularly.
Do not be afraid of honest communication. Let your teen know that you are interested in his or her life and want to know what they think and how they feel. Ask questions that have open ended answers and so cannot be answered with a yes, no or a grunt. Even more importantly, be willing to listen to the answers. Teens can say some scary things that may freak their parents out. However, blowing up, lecturing or scolding a teenager will not help him or her be honest and will cut off lines of communication. This does not mean that parents have to agree with everything a teenager says but it does mean that parents should spend an extended period of time listening before offering a tactful opinion or comment.
Discipline means training a child how to think and act like a mature human being. Children and teens generally dislike discipline but it is necessary nonetheless. The best way to avoid arguments over the rules is to establish family guidelines together. A teen’s input and opinions should be seriously considered and the guidelines should be agreed to by everyone. This way, a teen knows what to expect. Stepdads will not have to be faced with the “You can’t tell me what to do” outburst if the teen agreed to the rules beforehand. Such an arrangement takes the parent out of the equation and makes discipline less emotional.
Raising teens is not easy, even for biological fathers. It is infinitely harder for a stepfather. However, this does not mean that a stepfather cannot successfully raise a teenager and help him or her through the struggling, turbulent adolescent years. It takes extra work, time, effort and a lot of unconditional love but many stepfathers have been able to help their teenage stepsons and stepdaughters overcome relationship problems, learn how to manage money, develop maturity and behave like a human being and more. And in the end, the time and effort is always more than worth it.
About the Author: Adeline Cid has extensive experience caring for children and teenagers of various ages and backgrounds, as well as writing on the subject of raising children. Those who want more information on step parenting should be sure to check out this website.