- Don’t treat them as equals. It’s so common to see parents belittling their teens, or treating them with less respect than they do other adults. Sure, your teenager may not be legally an adult yet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t extend them the same respect and kindness. Also, remember—the way you treat them teaches them how to treat other human beings. Do you want them to be respectful towards all people? If so, it’s imperative you model respect by treating your own teens with that same dignity.Of course, that’s not to say you stop being their parent or let them escape being disciplined. However, you can simultaneously be a responsible parent and treat your teen respectfully. Listen to your teen. Validate their worth as an equal. Resist the temptation to talk down to them, especially in public.And, just for the record—I asked my teen daughter to weigh in on this article. Respecting her perspective and treating her as an equal with valid opinions is a way to reinforce her self-worth and boost her confidence.
- Try to control them. I had a friend in high school who had an incredibly controlling mother. Whenever my friend wanted to do something, her mom would automatically say no. She didn’t trust her daughter, and was constantly berating her. Did this approach make her daughter more obedient? Um, no. My friend was incredibly rebellious, and got into more trouble than any of my other friends. She made a daily habit of lying to her mom, because there was simply no way to “have a life” and be obedient to her mother at the same time.
If you want your teen to be rebellious and get into trouble, constantly try to control them. It will make them very good liars, and distance them from you. On the other hand, if you want to minimize the trouble your teens get into, then let them be who they are and have some freedom. Of course you’ll still need to have limits and say “no” sometimes. But try to relinquish the control. Know that it’s OK if they make mistakes—it’s actually a key part of the learning process. If they know you’re there for them no matter what, and you’re letting them grow into the person they’re meant to be, you’ll have a better relationship and your teen will be much more honest with you.
- Dwell on the negative. If they make a mistake, don’t continue to bring it up. Chances are, they already feel guilty about what they’ve done, and if you continue to remind them, it doesn’t help anyone. Now, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t discipline your children. Even as teens, you’ll still want to have boundaries and rules—and when they break them, it’s important to follow through with consequences. However, that doesn’t mean you need to serve those consequences up with a side of guilt or shaming.Try to find that balance of having boundaries and consequences, but doing so in a kind and positive way. Let your teen know you don’t think they’re a bad person because they screwed up. We screw up, and they’ll be much more likely to make better choices in the future if they know you think of them with love and admiration, and that you don’t equate their behavior with their identity and worth.The next time they make a mistake, resist the temptation to shame them in any way. Instead, try to help them learn from it. In fact, if you teach your children it’s normal to mess up sometimes, and the real success is learning something every time you do, you’re giving them a great gift.
Also, keep in mind that positive reinforcement is a very powerful tool. The more you focus on what your teen is doing right, and praise them for that, the more motivated they’ll be to keep up the good work. We all thrive on love, positivity, respect, and kindness!
A Note From The Staff At ‘Vegan Pregnancy and Parenting’
Happy Vegan Eating! Do not forget to check us out on the Main Facebook Group, where we discuss kids, pregnancy, nutrition and veganism in general. There are over thirty thousand vegan parents in our, all of them raising little vegans.
There is also a Vegan Eats For Smaller Feet, where parents get together, share recipes, swap disaster stories, and generally learn the best ways to hide the broccoli in the food for kids. So it’s worth checking out, and know that even though your kids are vegan, it doesn’t mean they’re going to suddenly love those brussel sprouts and carrot soup.
If Facebook isn’t your go to social media, we can usually be found liking far too many amazing dishes on Instagram. If you’re raising a vegan family, be sure to tag us on there for a chance for your vegan family to be featured, or amazing vegan dishes to appear on our main page!
Lastly, don’t forget to have a quick peek on Pinterest, where we pin all these amazing recipes and vegan friendly ideas. We receive over 250,000 weekly viewers on Pinterest, so we must be doing something right.
Happy Veganing, everyone! We are very happy that you have found us, and you’re raising little vegans. The world needs more people like you.
Raise humanity. Raise vegan!