Having teenagers can be both pretty amazing and fairly stressful, and every moment with them is almost always unpredictable. However, raising a well-adjusted and healthy kid has never been an easy task, and moms have to constantly multitask to make sure everything and everyone turns out great.
From keeping your kids well fed and nourished, to keeping them out of trouble with school and in their personal life, and helping them understand their changing bodies and unsorted hormones — while still ensuring a healthy flow of communication between you and your child — it is just about enough for you to make it through each day.
As overwhelming as the challenges of raising your teen might be, though, it is always vital to acknowledge your successes as a parent from time to time. Of course, you’re doing great (especially if you’re concerned about how you’re doing in the first place), but if you’re wondering about your progress in helping your teen become a well-adjusted adult, here are five clues that you’re on the right path.
They Aren’t Afraid to Show Emotion around You
One of the tougher parts of dealing with a teenager is dealing with their emotions. As a parent, you can’t control when they choose to express their emotions, but you can always help them work through it. As teenagers are no strangers to emotional outbursts, they also need someone who can help identify and work through those complicated feelings.
When your teenager trusts that you won’t dismiss them or shut down their feelings, they will often feel comfortable showing emotion around you. For instance, whether they’re crying tears of genuine anguish or laughing happily at a joke you made… as long as they’re not concealing these feelings from you, then you can be confident you are raising a well-adjusted teen.
They Trust You with Their Struggles (and Celebrations!)
Growing up poses different challenges and struggles for everyone, and it is an entire dilemma for teenagers to find someone they can trust with their struggles. When teenagers realize that they are stuck, their best bet is to turn to their parents. However, not all teens feel comfortable opening up to their parents. However, when they do? It’s a very good sign that you’re doing right by them.
Your teen trusting you with their private thoughts shows that they can trust you enough to communicate whatever troubles they have. Furthermore, it reveals that they trust that you will help them in the best way you can. It is also a great sign when they want to share their achievements and celebrations with you first. It shows that they can rely on you through every rough patch and you will be there for each of their milestone successes, too.
They Follow Your Rules and Boundaries
As much as we love to let our teenagers express themselves, as parents, we still have to guide them by establishing safe rules and boundaries. Rules are great for growing teens, as they help our kids understand consequences, and having boundaries helps to curb their excesses. The fact is, teenagers that lack boundaries are more likely to get in trouble, but rules help keep them in check.
No one likes to be bound by rules, but when teenagers understand the purpose and benefits of having these rules, they are much likely to accept them. Moreover, when your kids follow your rules and boundaries, they are much likely to follow the rules and boundaries in whatever social setting they find themselves in, as well. In effect, they are more likely to keep themselves controlled in situations where it is needed.
They Have Friends and Hobbies
Another sign of well-adjusted living in your teen is having an active social life. Having friends (and also keeping in contact with these friends!) is vital for growing teenagers. They don’t have to have a large social circle, but genuine and sincere friendships are very beneficial for your child and can help them develop healthy social skills.
Furthermore, having an active hobby is another sign to look out for to ensure they are healthy and well-adjusted. That means they love something, and they can enjoy being occupied with it. Whether it’s a sport they enjoy, building model cars or trains, fashion and make-up, or even something as simple as spending time playing video games can indicate that your child is fairly healthy and normal.
A sudden and unexplained loss of interest in their previous hobbies, though, may be a warning sign that something is amiss. Or, for instance, if they’re no longer spending time with their friends, can be a common indicator of substance issues with teens. It’s important to be on the lookout for this, as substance abuse can have devastating effects on their future.
They’re Optimistic about the Future
Having bright hopes and aspirations for the future is absolutely important for a growing teen. This shows that they are optimistic about the future, and they clearly have something to live for and are planning for the future. With so many teens struggling with depression, knowing your child cares about their future can be a huge weight off of both of your shoulders.
Even though there might be stumbling blocks that life would throw at them, their optimism about the future would keep them going and inspire them to find a solution and a way out of every roadblock. Also, their ability to hold on to their optimism is very important, as it can shape and influence their personal relationships later on in life.
Trusting Yourself as a Parent
Sometimes it can feel as though your child’s teenage years seem to stretch out forever and they’ll never end. Fortunately, you can rest assured that just as quickly as they grew into their teen years, they’ll be out of it before you know it. For this reason, it’s important to appreciate these years now while they last, as establishing a healthy, loving relationship with your teen can help make them a well-adjusted adult in their twenties, thirties, and beyond.