Ask ten children what a cool parent should be and you will likely get more than ten answers. We all have different ideas of what ‘cool’ means, which makes trying to be cool something of a challenge. However, there are a few tricks you can try to be a cool parent, or, at least, irritate your children a little less when they are teenagers!
Treat your children as adults
We don’t mean letting them stay up all night drinking, but engaging with them at an appropriate level. Kids understand and see much more than you think. So whatever is going on in life, don’t think they are stupid just because they are children. Have conversations, discuss things with them, let them get involved in household matters and engage as much as practical in all elements of daily life.
Respect is earned and by treating your children as adults, they should build a much higher opinion of you as a parent.
Don’t try to be cool
If you have ever groaned out loud when watching a politician try to ‘get down with the kids’ or sing or dance, that’s what it is like as a teenager watching you try to be cool. Just don’t. Be yourself, be a grown up but try to put yourself in their shoes. You were a child once so try to remember what it was like and adjust your approach accordingly.
Be firm but fair, don’t try to be something you’re not and please, do not try to dress like them. It just doesn’t work!
Know your place
When you’re driving your child and their friends, you are the taxi driver. When they bring friends home from school, you are the chef and waiter. When they are doing their homework, you are a teacher on call. That means no idle conversations, no attempts at jokes and absolutely no discussions unless you’re invited.
It might sound harsh, but to a child, a silent parent really is golden. You were exactly the same at that age.
Stay up to date
Wherever possible, stay up to date with technology, social networking, smartphones and technological trends. Find a viable source of information and keep current. Chances are, your child will talk about things that you may never heard of. Knowing the difference between an iPhone and an iPad is one way to be seen as cool. It can also alert you to potential dangers.
That doesn’t mean they want you to friend them on Facebook though!
Know when to let go
A parent’s job is to prepare their children for the world. That means letting them make their own mistakes and letting them make their own way when they are old enough. Letting go is probably the hardest thing any parent has to do, but it’s also the most important.
Once you have taught them right and wrong, how to reason, how to make good decisions and how to ask questions, it’s time to let them put those lessons to good use. Just make sure you’re there to pick up the pieces when it goes wrong!