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When you decide you will start a family, you’re probably thinking about all the good times ahead. That’s the best way to approach the situation. You’re likely thinking about family holidays, teaching your teen to drive, their first crush, and everything else that comes with being a parent.
There should be some great times coming, but there can be some bad ones as well. As your child grows, they can get themselves in trouble in various ways. You might not necessarily want to think about that, but it is true, nonetheless.
Let’s take a moment to talk about four kinds of trouble your teen can encounter as they reach their teenage years. These issues might seem nearly insurmountable at the time, but if any of them ever come up, you can get through them as a family.
Your Child Causes a Car Accident
Car accidents happen more frequently than some individuals realize. When they happen, property damage, injuries, and even loss of life can be the results. Traffic accidents killed over 36,000 people in the US in one recent year, and that’s scary for a parent.
You would hope that once you teach your teen to drive, they will conduct themselves appropriately. If they are responsible about most other things, that should make you feel better about handing the keys over to them if you give them your old car or let them borrow your current one sometimes.
If they do cause a wreck, though, you will have to deal with the consequences as a family. You would hope that you will have an excellent car insurance policy in place that will protect your teen. There’s no excuse for not having adequate insurance, especially if you have an inexperienced teenage driver in the family.
If your teen does cause an accident and the other driver sues you, you can hire a lawyer and fight the charges in court if that’s what it takes. That might be the best way to defend your teen who has made a mistake.
Your teen might also decide they want to experiment with drugs. This happens pretty frequently at that age.
There are all kinds of drugs, and your response, if you find out about your teen’s experimentation, should be proportionate to what you find out they have tried. For instance, it’s not the worst thing in the world if you hear your teen has smoked a joint with their friends. Recreational weed is legal in some states now, though your teen is underage, and you should not encourage this behaviour because of that.
If they do something like meth or heroin, that is much more serious. You might need to seek counselling for them and keep them away from the friends that are encouraging the behaviour.
If the drug problem is a little harmless experimentation with marijuana or alcohol, a stern conversation might be all that it takes to get your teen back on the right track. If it’s something more serious and potentially addictive, you’ll need to take more drastic action.
They’re Doing Poorly in School
Maybe your teen is not getting very good grades in school. The first part of this problem will be finding out what it is that’s causing them not to perform as well.
You should start by talking to them rather than immediately punishing them. You must try to get some feedback from them as to why they’re not doing well in their classes.
They might feel like their classes are too hard. If that’s true, you might need to get a tutor for them. You can also try to help them with their homework in the evenings if you feel like you’re capable of it.
The problem might be that their friends or a particular relationship are distracting them. If so, you might limit the time they can spend with their friends or their significant other. If you feel like they are capable of getting better grades, but they are just lazy, some tough love is probably the best solution.
They Are Getting Too Close in a Relationship
If your teen has a significant other who they care about very much, that can be a great thing for them. They might continue on with that relationship into their adult life. Some high school sweethearts eventually marry and remain together for many years.
You might feel like the relationship is getting too close, though. Perhaps you feel like your teen is getting close to having sex for the first time, or maybe they have done so already.
At that point, you will probably need to have a talk with them about what you expect from them. It’s not easy for a parent to talk to a teen about this kind of thing, but you can’t sit by silently as your teen starts to become sexually active.
You need to talk to them about birth control. If you don’t, they are liable not to use it, and then pregnancy and STDs are possible. Relying on schools to teach abstinence isn’t likely to work very well when you have teenagers with rampaging hormones dictating their behaviour.
You also can’t stop your teen from having sex if they are set on doing it. You cannot watch them every second of every day.
However, you can ask them to wait. If you do so respectfully and you have a good relationship with them, there is no reason why they should not listen to you. You can tell them they should wait until they are a little bit older, and it will be more meaningful to them that way.
There are so many problems a teenager can encounter. As a parent, one part of the job is trying to guide them through this phase of their life. You have lived through it too, though, and you can think about your failures and triumphs as you advise them.