Your children are smiling, giggling, gleeful little bundles of joy. Their awe at the quotidian wonders of the world is truly inspiring and even enriches your life enabling you to take pleasure in the simple things in a way that the monotony of adulthood tends to erode. They’re full of energy, enthusiasm and boundless affection. Yeah, enjoy that while it lasts! Before you know it, your beautiful little bundle of joy will be replaced by a walking time bomb of roiling hormones, mood swings and emotional outbursts so extreme they will rival the average natural disaster in the scope of their destruction. No parent looks forward to their kids’ teen years. They’re an emotionally challenging time for both the parents and the kids and there’s no manual for how to deal with the challenges that come with raising a teen.
As with most things, however, forewarned is forearmed and by nipping behaviours that could manifest in adolescents now while your child is still young, cute and malleable can save you a lot of effort and heartbreak later on down the line…
Present a united front
As soon as kids develop the emotional intelligence, they become quite skilled manipulators of their parents. They learn how to play one parent off against the other and in our zeal to be perceived as “the cool one” quite a few of us fall for it. Now, and always it’s a good idea to show your kids that you and your partner are united and cannot be played off one another. It’s a fairly normal part of growing up but unless nipped in the bud they can become masters of it by the time they reach their teen years.
Start looking at schools right now
There are so many things that we parents wish we’d known before our kids started school. Among them is the terrifying fact that more than 150,000 parents in England don’t get their first choice of school for their kids. While your child will be able to thrive in education whatever school they attend with the right parental backing, there’s no point in denying that the right school can give them the inside track. What constitutes “the right school” will depend on the needs of your child. Some local schools like Leicester High School are single sex while some are inclusive and while the National Curriculum applies to all schools, there are some elements of your child’s education that will be at the discretion of the school itself. Only you know what your child’s educational needs are and as their learning styles and personalities emerge you will be better placed than anyone to judge what’s right for them.
Show them nothing but love
We all remember that Harry Enfield sketch in which the antisocial teenager Kevin would answer even his parents’ most reasonable dictum with “That’s so unfair, I hate you!”. It’s true that teenagers can grow to suspect that their parents are pursuing a vendetta against their happiness and personal liberty. While discipline is important and boundaries need to be maintained if you show your child nothing but love throughout their childhood and adolescence they’ll struggle to harbour any fantasies of dictatorial parents in their teenage years.