The Dreaded Years. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. It’s an inevitable moment on the journey of parenthood. A moment that comes too soon for many a parent, finding them ill-equipped to handle the drastic changes that come with it.

Yes. You got It right. I’m talking about the terrible teenager stage. Science attributes it to hormones and growth, but I think it’s a conspiracy theory. I think the teens gather in the middle of the night and conspire to test our love for them.

Whatever the logical (or outlandish) reason for your little angel mutating into a pain in the rear end, it is possible for you as a parent to prevent or cure it. This article is a prescription for parents who are ready to take the battle behind enemy lines.

Ready? Here goes.

#1. Cut Them Some Slack I remember it as if it were yesterday. It was a sunny day and the water was glistening as it reflected the sun’s rays. Well not really, the water was muddy but that’s beside the point.

The point is I caught my first fish that day. As I struggled to reel it in my father shouted, “cut him some slack!” I knew what he meant. I had seen him doing it a couple of times. He would let the fish swim a distance, reel it in, let it swim a short distance, reel it in and so on. The whole point of the exercise was to tire the fish out so as to make it easier to reel in.

Cut your teen some slack.

I know, I know. You wanted some sage wisdom that would make your teen as docile as a newborn kitten. Sorry. Life isn’t like that.

Sometimes as a parent you need to loosen up and give your teen room to grow. In fact, you need to extend the boundaries of the house rules at this stage in their life. Don’t treat them the same way you treat a toddler (how I wish that were possible).

Instead of fighting them, like the fish, give them enough room to extend their boundaries without letting them go off completely. This means to trust them enough to let them do as they please but within the confines of legal and family values.

Sometimes all your teenage child needs is room to grow into the man or woman they are meant to be. Don’t fight them, cut them some slack.

#2. Trust Their Decisions This is easier said than done. It’s the inherent nature of a parent to want to control a child. This is a recipe for disaster when it comes to dealing with a teen. Am I saying you should let your precious child run wild and destroy their life? Not at all.

What I am saying is that empower your teen to make certain decisions for themselves. The reason teens rebel is because they want to feel in control. They want to be empowered. When they see you trusting them with decision making , favouritethey feel “grown up”. The result is that they will start thinking and behaving like you *gasp*. Yes, they will start behaving and thinking like you because you are the closest model of a grown up and they do want to be “grown up”.

#3. Give Them Responsibilities They Like  Please don’t stone me yet. Hear me out.

Give your teenager responsibilities they like. Don’t force a chore you hate on them! The best way to do this is to have a family board meeting. In that board meeting (afterfavoritemeal and during said teens favourite desert) congratulate your teen for crossing over from childhood into the teen stage. Let them know you will treat them as an adult( this always tickles their ears) and that part of adulthood is responsibility.

While they are still glowing in the glory of your enchanted words, bring out a pre written list of responsibilities*spelt chores in “parentese”* and ask them to choose x number of responsibilities to handle. This strategy works, not because of the food, but because your teen will feel respected and not controlled. This brings us to the next teen taming strategy.

#4. Respect Your Teen Your teen is in a transition phase. In fact for most people this is the make or break stage of their lives. Nothing builds up a person like respect. I know it’s tempting to force your way in your teens life because you are older and wiser but allow them to make mistakes gracefully if need be.

When you respect your child, you nurture the angel in them. This is called positive reinforcement.

Respect: •    Their decisions •    Their space (especially the ladies) •    The changes in their lives •    Their privacy

Respect is about allowing your child to grow into the person they will ultimately become in life. The only exception to this rule is when you suspect your teen is breaking the law. How do you handle such a scenario respectfully?

# Sit down and talk about your suspicions in a concerned manner. Don’t accuse. # Let them know you respect their space and privacy but because you love them, you won’t hesitate to take necessary measures if they give you reason to.

#5. Love Your Teen I know this may sound obvious to you but it isn’t for many people out there. There are some teens that are really monsters. I know this is strong language but it is true. What are you supposed to do when your teen turns into a monster? Love them.

Love should always be unconditional. Hard pill to swallow but the results are worth it. No matter how wayward your child has gone, they are still your child. Love them. Love works wonders. It may sound corny but try it and see for yourself. Sometimes rebellion is a cry for love and attention. Supply them in abundance.

Wake Up From The Nightmare  Parenting can be a nightmare but it need not be. If you can educate yourself on how to deal with the different stages of parenting you will save yourself, and your child, a lot of heartache and pain. The nightmare is over.

Here’s to our conspiracy as parents. The conspiracy to tame the teen monster. Go forth and use these nuggets to tame your teen.