Many parents are fearful when they hear the word "teenager" because of all the personality and hormonal changes their child is about to endure. Along with the changes personally, the child is now going to be entering into middle school where influences of their peers really come into play. I know entering into a new school is very intimidating and scary. So many questions and concerns racing through your head with the last concern being school work. As a parent you want to continue to stay involved in your child's life through these hard middle school and high school years.
One of the best way is by asking questions about their day and what happened in school. It is vital to show that you care about how your son or daughters day went. This shows that you want to maintain a line of open communication. Believe me, communication is essential in keeping involvement in what is going on in your teenager's life. A great opportunity for this would be at the dinner table when everyone is together. Family dinners are a great time of bonding and sharing ideas and thoughts with one another. The best memeories I have as a teenager were at the dinner table with my family then after dinner we would all play a Wii bowling. Food and games, what a great way to bring people together for some fun!
Another way to stay involved would be to spend time with your teenager doing something you both enjoy. My mom and I have a great relationship mainly because we both love to shop. We would get lost for hours going store hopping and spending time together. Sometimes it may be difficult to find something both parent and child will enjoy but it is okay for the parent to go out of their comfort zone or spend a little more money than you anticipated. Building a strong relationship with your child is the most important thing.
School sports are a great way for teens to make friends and parents to stay involved. The best thing I think the parents can do to stay involved would be for the parents to meet the coach of whatever the team the child is playing on. By the parent meeting the coach ensures the parent that their child will be under the watch of a responsible authoritative figure which will provide the children with a good safe environment. And parents... Attend the games! Your children are working very hard and are showing a commitment to a team so make sure to be at as many of the games as possible to cheer your child and the team on. There is nothing better than having the support of your family.
Parents only have a small window of opportunity to influence and teach their children. Parents are not perfect and you will mess up. Parents need to help teach their teenagers respect, discipline, and responsibility. Today's generation of teenagers lack these traits. Parents need to prepare their teenager the best they can to face decisions and choices in life that may influence them in a good or harmful way. I can speak from experience that I am so grateful for all the time I share with my mom and the talks she gave to me. People will try to sway my mind or challenge me on things I know are right and wrong but by my parents' guidance through my teen year has helped me to stay strong and not follow the crowd.