7 Keys To Raising Happy Teenagers

James Killian, LPC
4 min readMar 20, 2023

Adolescence is a critical life stage. So much so that during ages 11–20, the foundation for who your child will become is laid out. It’s your responsibility as a parent to guide your teen through the turbulent ride of adolescence and guide them into the world of happy adulthood. Here’s 7 ways that you can support your teenager through the challenging teen years and help them become happy productive adults.

7 STRATEGIES FOR RAISING HAPPY TEENAGERS

1. BE THERE

Even though teens may act like they don’t need you, they really do. Create space for honest non-judgmental conversations. Take time to listen to them and get to know them properly. This will increase the trust in your relationship, and they’re less likely to rebel against the good advice that you give. Remember: keep your judgments to yourself. There is no quicker way to alienate your teen than by appearing judgmental and critical of their choices, likes, beliefs, etc.

2. REDUCE THE RULES

Your rules should have clear logic and reason behind them and be easily explained. Stay away from “Because I said so.” It really just makes you appear weak and unsure of yourself — which isn’t what you want to project when raising happy teenagers.

Rules are great but set them only when necessary. Your home shouldn’t resemble a military boot camp. Enforce the rules with respect and always make sure your teen realizes the consequences of different actions. Stay away from nonsense like, “Because I said so.” If you can’t explain the reasoning behind your rules with logic and reasoning, you may want to rethink the rule.

3. SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS

Help your teen be their best self. Be clear about what you expect from them such as good grades, acceptable behavior (which should be clearly defined), and tidiness (also clearly defined) and the type of friends they keep. By setting appropriate expectations, you’re helping your teen become more responsible and gain a better understanding of how the world works.

4. WALK THE TALK

If you want to raise kind, responsible, hard-working teenagers, then you need to be one yourself.

You’re the first (and most important) model of an adult for your teen. YOU need to set a good example for your teen and embody the kind of adult you want them to become. Remember that your teen is always watching, so adopt positive habits and lead by example. If you want to raise kind, loving human beings, then you need to be one yourself.

5. ENCOURAGE & MODEL SELF-CARE

Adolescence is filled with a lot of pressure and activities, which is why you need to model the value of a good diet, less screen time, exercise, mental health and getting proper sleep in your teen. Teaching your child to learn how to put themself first and the importance of it is possibly the most important lesson you can teach them. But if you’re not doing it yourself, don’t expect them to.

6. AFFIRM THEM CONSTANTLY

Everyone needs affirming -especially if you’re raising happy teenagers.

Tell your teenagers they’re amazing. This helps them develop confidence in themselves, which is vital because as they grow older, self-doubt begins to creep in (as you’re well aware of), and hearing positive affirmations from their parents goes a long way toward developing their sense of self-worth.

7. EXPAND THEIR WORLD

You can encourage your teenager to try new things and go new places by doing so yourself- with them. Raising happy teenagers involves spending time together trying new things.

The teen years is a great time for broadening horizons and new experiences. Encourage your teen to explore all their interests. Get involved in activities they’re curious about (no matter how much you might not be), take them to new places and so they can gain new experiences. Your teen will benefit immensely from exposure to all these different ideas, places and cultures and grow into a well-rounded adult who’s equipped to tackle challenges and easily adaptable to changing environments.

Raising kids is tough stuff. Raising happy, healthy teenagers is on another level. If you’re struggling with parenting a teen, find an awesome therapist you like and trust to help you navigate the murky waters of parenthood.

James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in Greater New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.

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James Killian, LPC

Principal Therapist & Owner at Arcadian Counseling in Woodbridge, CT.