As adolescents grow, there are several things to keep in mind as a father.  Fathers can have sacred moments too.  It may mean you have to create them, but nonetheless, they are just as important. Make sure you are spending time with your adolescents. As time passes, fathers tend to allow their youth to become residents in the home, and forget about their needs, since they are so social, and connected to their peer groups. Here are a few pointers by Kyle D. Pruett, M.D. Author of “Fatherneed: Why father Care is as Essential As Mother Care for Your Child.” – to help you remember the call to fatherhood and connection.

Prepare Your Emotions

Sometimes young people get upset and have to share their emotions. It’s a part of them learning about and exploring their identity. It’s natural for them to be “out of line” and say a thing or two that makes a parent question whom they were conversing with.  In all seriousness, feelings get hurt and it’s important for dads to recognize that their daughters can be sensitive, and their sons can be disconnected at time, or only want to talk sports, but it’s very natural for a dad to remain sensitive as well to their adolescents emotions, sensitivities and social relationships and friends.

  • Your feelings are going to get hurt. Remember it s business, not personal. Expect to be challenged, but stay in control. Someone should.
  • This stage will reveal your lowest and highest feelings of satisfaction. It may be a bumpy ride, so hang on!

Prepare your calendar:

It’s important to remember kids have a social life, and most of them want to spend about 99.9 percent of it with friends! Try to make sure you give your kids planning input to vacations and offer places to visit and go to see so it will be as memorable to them, as it is to you. Get to know their friends, it can make the difference between a better relationship between you and them, and help you to know them better as well.

  • Chase your children down, and buy them lunch, and listen. Don’t’ wait for them to always come to you. They can’t.  Also… don’t preach, lecture, or begin any sentence with: “when I was a kid” (you didn’t appreciate this advice when you were a kid, either.)
  • Periodically, give each of your kids a day or half a day of your time, and don’t be upset if they want to bring a friend. (This may be the only way to make such a day possible.)
  • Think very carefully about family vacations.

Prepare your skills:

If you have absolutely no idea what’s going on in the teen world, then you really are missing something! Get to know teen culture and what teens like and with less opinion, and more open-mindedness – ask them about their interests and why they like what they do.

  • Read a good book about teens and discuss it with your partner.
  • Practice talking about your beliefs without lecturing.
  •  Listen to what your teen is thinking and believing and ask their input (don’t accept “I don’t know” for an answer!)  Ask them to express their intentions listen to their advice (and listen some more). 
  • Talk about your world, friends, the news – and engage your teens respectfully about theirs. 
  • Watch for radical changes in your teens; friends, sleep habits, or money usage.  He suggests you calmly  and respectfully inquire…. But don’t interrogate. 
  • Stay in touch with your kids’ life, by talking to teachers, coaches and counselors. 
  •  Talk about sex.  How to relate to other teens and discuss what healthy relationships should look like. (These conversations are supposed to feel uncomfortable, he reminds!)

 

Author & Contributing writer- Jennifer Owens, LMSW

 
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