By Nohad Mouawad
Just when you thought you were out of the baby and toddler years, and that your kid is independent, can have a logical conversation (most of the time) and you can finally enjoy parenthood: it happened. Yes, your kid made the transition from kid to preteen or teen, and now all bets are off. Everything you thought you knew about parenting has fallen by the wayside and you’re left standing, wondering how you can possibly navigate the years ahead and get yourself and your son or daughter to the other side: from childhood to adulthood and from school to university or work life.
Probably the first step in taking on this crazy challenge, is to take it one day at a time and try to be patient with both yourself and your teen. You’re both learning and you’re going to have to learn together and from each other. If you haven’t had lots of heart to heart conversations or discussions with your kid over the years, now is a good time to start. Take them to their favorite restaurant or café for a treat and take the time to ask them everything from small questions about their friends and school life to bigger questions that come up, and just be there to listen to them and let them know you are there to talk. That way, when a real problem comes up or a more serious issue, they might consider coming to you, rather than just turning to their peers.
The teen years can also go by a lot more smoothly when your teen has a hobby, activity or sport that they love and can help them take their stress out and distract them from other more negative things. Find out what they like and encourage them to try and participate in activities that interest them. Show them that it’s important to do extracurriculars whether at school, home or another place. Whether it’s art, music, sports or just doing crafts at home, support them in doing what they like and what’s good for them.
Even though your kids are growing up, don’t forget to have fun with them, whenever they’ll let you. There are so many fun experiences for teens and adults alike, which they will love and cherish as future memories. From an amazing Helicopter ride above Dubai, and even flying in a real gyrocopter for those 17 and over, to a Gen X teen brunch where they can gather and make new friends, there are lots of fun things to do in the UAE that are not just for little ones. If you really want to impress your teen, take them to the 3D Selfie museum, where everything is Instagramable!
If your teen is looking for a high energy day out, take them to Ski Dubai, Ekart Electronic Go Karts or laser tag at Tr88house LaserRush. At Aventura Parks they have an orange or black ropes course, which are designed especially for teens and are a lot more challenging and thrilling than those for younger kids. Ferrari World is also guaranteed to make them happy, with all its thrills and excitement. For a more low-key outing with friends, Switch bowling is great for karaoke, food and games. If your teen or tween has had enough of family time, grab them a Pay &Play Pass to Play DXB in Dubai Mall, and you can shop and run your errands in peace. If you have a kid that’s 16 or 17 then impress them by getting them tickets to Murder Mystery Dubai at Al Seef Hotel. It’s an interactive show, where they get to guess “who dunnit?”
As you navigate the teen years, it won’t all be fun and games, but try to be there to listen, don’t take their attitude and reactions personally, start the dialogue early, and remember what it was like being a teen. At the time, you thought that your parents didn’t understand you or your friends, and that they weren’t “cool.”
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