Explaining the reason behind a certain rule or expectation helps your teenager relate to what you are saying.
As a parent of more than one child it can be difficult to cater for so many different needs. With different ages and life stages comes different expectations and roles within the family unit. Being an older sibling is a gift but also a role that comes with great responsibility. When your older child becomes a teenager it will be more important than ever to lead by example. Younger siblings will look up to them and view their behaviour as the norm, but helping your teen set a positive standard can be challenging.
Communication Is Key
We all remember being a teenager and not wanting to be told what to do just comes with the territory. For teenagers the why is really important. Explaining the reason behind a certain rule or expectation helps your teenager to relate to what you are saying. It suddenly has meaning and might even become something they want to do. Leading by example is something that can help keep their siblings safe so that is always a good angle to begin with.
Focus On Trust
This is a collaboration between the family. Try to help your teenager understand that this expectation is based on trust. Coming from this angle helps instill confidence in your teenager. They have every reason to think that they are considered to be trust-worthy within the family unit.
Be The Leader You Want To See
The best way to teach leadership is to demonstrate it yourself. Be the kind of leader that your teenager will also want to be. A huge part of leadership is talking and paving the way but it is important to be a good listener too. Showing compassion and empathy as a leader will help your teenager respect you and their position within the family unit.
What Action Makes You Feel Good?
Making good decisions and being a positive role model is a great challenge for teenagers. The teenage years are so full of temptation and curiosity. A good guide to teach your teenager is to do what makes you feel best in the long term. What is the choice that leads to less guilt, anxiety and fear? That is a good guide for us all.
Reward Their Good Choices
When you notice your teenager actively leading by example and making positive choices, shine a spotlight on it. As parents we are quick to the mark when it comes to criticism and noticing the behaviour and choices we do not like, but positive reinforcement is worth it's weight in gold. If you reward the behaviour it will happen more often. Rewards might be in the form of experiences or something financial.