Unconditional love is necessary for raising children, at any age … and especially in adolescence. Although love at this stage is different from when children are younger, it becomes a harder, more authoritative love. This love has a very clear message for teenagers: “I know you don’t like what I’m going to do or say, but I’ll do it anyway because it’s good for you and I love you.”
It’s not authoritative parenting
This kind of love for raising troubled teens is confused with authoritarian parenting but has nothing to do with it. Authoritarian parents use harsh discipline without taking their children’s feelings into account … they just want their children to obey without caring about the values they transmit to them.
Love in raising troubled (or trouble-free) teens should be warm and empathetic, though it is not without clear boundaries and consequences that are applied as a way to teach life’s lessons and the most important values to learn.
This type of love is used to help a child be more responsible for his behaviour. Instead of doing things for him, giving him too many chances, or keeping him from suffering the consequences of his actions, this love helps him experience the consequences of his own behaviour.
This may mean setting strict limits and creating consequences that teach life lessons, or it may involve children having natural consequences for their behaviour. Either way, the intention should be to ensure that children understand that you are willing to do whatever it takes to help them improve.
This type of love has some basic principles that must be known. The general idea of this type of love is that parents love their children enough to set firm limits and follow appropriate consequences when the adolescent breaks the rules. Troubled teens sometimes make poor decisions; in this case, a parent may let their child face the natural consequences of their behaviour.
Responsible for their behaviour
Another important principle of this kind of love in raising teenagers is that they must learn to be responsible for their behaviour. This means that you have to make sure that your children are responsible for the decisions they make at any given moment.
It is important that you follow these strategies if you are the parent of an adolescent child with problems (or without them …). These strategies will help you better direct your children’s behaviour:
- Let your child see your love even if you stand firm when he needs discipline.
- Seek professional help when necessary.
- Set and consistently enforce (real) expectations and reasonable limits.
- Respect your teenager as a person; he is going through major changes as he is becoming an adult.
- Take control if your child is creating a dangerous or unmanageable situation at home.
Remember that your adolescent son, even if he tries to show that he wants to be an independent person from you… he is still very dependent, and he needs you to guide him on this path of life.