Being a parent is hard but when there is only one of you and you have teenagers, it can be even harder. Dealing with their honesty and independence and being able to trust them are some of the biggest challenges between single moms and teens. Here we offer 7 tips that can help you through those rough years:
Have A Network Of Support
Build yourself a network of family and friends that can provide you back-up and support. Meet the parents of your teen’s friends and if you feel you can trust them, incorporate them into your network.
This doesn’t mean that they become replacements for your responsibilities as a parent. They are only there to help you when you have to stay late at work, or you’re sick. They are there to exchange carpool duties with you or take turns having sleep-overs at your house.
If you are lucky enough to have parents, grandparents or siblings that are nearby, ask them to drop in and check on things when you are out for the evening. They don’t need to interrogate your teen, just make it a casual and friendly visit. Asking them casually what they’re doing, have they eaten or did they need help with their homework.
Studies have shown that latchkey kids that do not have any type of adult supervision while left alone are prone to get into trouble. An unplanned visit by an aunt, grandparent or uncle lets the teen know they are valued.
Talk To Your Teen
Let your teen know that when you aren’t able to be with them, you have some expectations and that means they have some responsibility. Set up ground rules and stick by them. Rule such as homework must be completed before they start playing video games or watching television. Put parental locks in place on the computer and television to keep your teen from looking at questionable websites or watching questionable movies.
Set Up A Chore List
You can use a weekly allowance or permission for special favors if their assigned chores are done each week. These chores can include dusting, laundry, starting dinner, vacuuming, washing dishes, etc. Don’t make them your slave, just a contributing member to the household.
Meet Your Teen’s Friends
As kids mature, they will be exposed to different people and make new friends. Make every effort to meet those friends and get familiar with them. This is the only way you can know what kind of influence they will have on your kids.
Listen To Them
Listening to your teen is the best way to know them. Ask them about school and their classes, how they like their teachers, what band is their favorite and who they think will win the Superbowl this year. While teenagers want to be independent, they want you to be involved too, limited, but involved.
Make Time For You Teen
When you get home from work, don’t immediately sit down to watch television or start dinner. Take a little time to talk to them and see how their day went. Ask open-ended questions that require them to answer with more than a “yes” or “no.
Schedule times with just you and your teenager like a special dinner or shopping trip. Let them know they are important to you and you look forward to spending this time with them. There are days that getting them to talk will be like emptying the ocean, but stay persistent.