When your child heads into those teenage years, it can feel like a minefield. Sometimes, it is. There are so many important conversations you need to have, yet effective communication feels so far out of reach that parents are often blindsided and give up before they even try. Successfully navigating teenagers as a caregiver means backing off, imparting wisdom, and never being afraid to be real and authentic. This guide explores five important conversations every parent must have with their teen as they walk the path to adulthood.
The Money Talk
How many teenagers stumble upon adulthood without proper insight into their financial responsibilities? The answer is a lot. Talking about money is not always at the top of the list for parents, but it should be. Kids should have access to information about how wages work, what taxes are for, typical outgoings when they live by themselves, and the dangers of too much debt. Without this knowledge, there is a risk of falling into monetary harm and damaging their credit profile beyond repair.
From as early as possible, involve kids in talks about finances where appropriate. Open them a bank account and encourage chores for cash initiatives in your home to show the model of the way the world works. Get them used to the wider world they will be living in one day, so it is not a shock to the system when they get there.
In a country where gun law is a prevalent issue, firearm safety and handling should be an open topic of discussion. The rules and expectations about safe management are vital in any home that has weapons to avoid grave consequences. Teach teens exactly how to handle ammunition safely, all about firearm storage and how to handle one with their own safety in mind in any context.
How to Handle Conflict
Conflict will always be a part of life. Fights happen, arguments persist, and people are never going to agree on everything. One day, though no parent would like to think about it, your child will be face-to-face with a conflict of some description. How they handle this conflict will be determined by what you instill in them in terms of values, attitude, and emotional regulation. Teach your teenagers how to:
- Handle themselves with assertion, not aggression.
- Mitigate risk and deflect tension in a peaceful manner.
- Reduce the conflict with mindful practices as opposed to hot headed responses.
Remember, how you handle conflict at home will be a major determiner of how your teenager navigates tension externally. They learn so much more from us than we appreciate.
The Topic of Consent and Self-Respect
Finally, every young person needs to learn about consent and self-respect. It is relevant to both young men and young women and should be taught as early as possible while remaining a conversation throughout those turbulent years. Open, honest rhetoric about what ‘no’ means and how to advocate for yourself, while simultaneously respecting the feelings of others you might be intimate with is something everyone needs to learn. For too long, the narrative has been somewhat sketchy and even taboo, but no longer. Empower teens with the knowledge of how to speak up when they feel uncomfortable and how always asking before acting is the safest route forward.
Despite it never being smooth sailing, some conversations just need to happen. Whether it is one time attempt or a continuous slow-burn communication, don’t shy away from the difficult topics. There is a high chance that your teenager will refuse to engage but you still have to say it for their protection and your peace of mind. The world is a confusing place to be, and they will need all the help you have to offer.