1. Being judgmental will only create dishonesty
People have their own personal views on things, and that is fine. We are all entitled to our opinions; however, how you express it is what matters, especially to your kids. When I’m about to tell my parents about a problem I’m going through, I will subtly imply a similar situation or topic before I actually tell them just to see their reaction. If they overreact, which over-protective parents are prone to do, I won’t spill. Be understanding and keep an open mind.
2. Restrictions are made to be broken
Young people are curious. So no matter what barriers you put in their way, they will go around it and do whatever it is they want to do anyway. Honestly, over-protected kids are the smartest when it comes to breaking rules. Curfews and such are fine, but don’t overdo it. Here’s the logic: if you give them permission to do what they want to do to an extent, at least you know what they’re up to.
3. Don’t go Criminal Minds on them
On most occasions, it is not a good idea to interrogate your kids or go through their things. There was a point in my high school life where my Mom was obsessed about my virginity and she kept drilling me with the same question over and over, “Are you still a virgin?” She then went through my phone without asking, which only ends in me encrypting it with four different passwords. The more you push, the more defensive they will become. Instead…
4. Be their friend
Most people don’t mind being friends with their parents. Form a close bond by putting yourself in their position and try to be empathic. I mean, really, how much of a saint were you in your college days? If this is done properly, i.e. don’t be the “cool Dad” who clubs at 9PM wearing shimmery disco ball-like clothes, your kids will be more open about their thoughts and actions.
5. When they make mistakes, don’t make them feel worse
Parents have the complete right to punish their kids accordingly, but don’t be cruel in your words and measures. Being grounded or suspended of certain privileges such as Internet access are sensible, but don’t make your kids feel like they are the devil’s godchildren with insults. And yes, bullying can be done by parents as well. Make them feel guilty, but never make them feel bad.
6. Don’t give up on them either
I know your kids are difficult to deal with, some more than others (sorry, Mom), but don’t put them on the hands of fate. It is as if you are indicating that you don’t care, and when this happens, they tend to lose hope on themselves. And that is never a good thing.
7. Know that they love you
No matter how much of a handful they can be, they do love you and never aim to hurt you. They do what they do because they’re young and stupid and that’s just what young people do: stupid things. Accept that your kids make mistakes, and they will accept that you do, too.