Gone are the days you could just snuggle with your child to show them you love them. Once they become teenagers, a simple “I love you” can be greeted with responses from positive, to eye-rolling embarrassment. So how can you best show your teen that you love them? Well actually, by being a strict parent.

Stay with me here, I promise I’m not crazy. I know many parents worry that they will alienate their teen by being strict with them. The thing is, you aren’t there to be your teen’s friend - not while they are still a child in your home. Your teen’s future success can depend on your efforts to teach them, not by being their best buddy.

It’s a fine line, learning how to give tough love without becoming suffocating or overly-punishing. No parent wants to have their teen leave home for college and go wild with new-found freedom because they were too restricted at home. To help you strike that balance, I have drawn together 3 instances that you can use to be a strict parent while showing your love for your teen at the same time.

School Accountability

I’m not sure there is a parent out there that hasn’t had a child come to them the night before a project was due. You feel that spark of irritation, the “why didn’t you come to me earlier?”, but in the end, you practically end up doing the project for them. I am definitely guilty of doing last-minute book reports with my teenage son.

Imagine if you didn’t jump to the rescue. What really happens to your teen if you don’t? If it is a large project and one they should have been working on for weeks, it can cost them a lot of points toward their class grade. The teen may even fail the class and need to either retake it next year or over the summer. But isn’t it better that they experience this now rather than when they go to college? The stakes are much higher when it comes to college assignments and failure in that elevated atmosphere will cost much more. So while I definitely recommend you stay involved with your teen’s school work, make sure you aren’t the one doing it.

Technology Diet

While we complain that our children are glued to their tech, as parents we may not be intervening as much as we should be. Asking to look at your teen’s phone and/or computer may make you feel just as uncomfortable as them, like you were requesting a look at their diary. However, unlike a diary, others are out there connecting with your teen via this device and it is your responsibility as a parent to know who they are and what is being said.

While this is to make sure your teen isn’t engaging with predators online or on apps they shouldn’t be on, this practice can also help if your teen is being bullied. Your teen may or may not come to you if they are being harassed, so be proactive. While monitoring your teen’s technology usage won’t make you extra popular with them, it can protect them from potentially fatal consequences.

Chores Schedule

Sometimes when you go into the kitchen and see that the counters are dirty and the sink is still full of dishes, the fight to get your teen to do their chores doesn’t seem worth the effort. So you roll up your sleeves and just take care of it because you need clean dishes for dinner and counter space for making said-dinner.

But you don’t have to do that and you really shouldn’t. Where is your teen and why aren’t they doing their chores? It is possible they are doing homework; but somehow, I have a feeling they're just avoiding their chores.

So how does it play out if you don’t do the dishes? Say you make dinner, before your teen can run off after everyone is eating, they have to do the dishes like they should have hours ago. This conversation can be done with the “if/then” technique: “If you do the dishes, then you can go back to your activities.” And until they do the dishes, let them sit at the table. Maybe they had an outing with friends planned or actually more homework to do. But by not giving in, you teach your teen that they need to manage their time better so they can accomplish everything they need and want to do.

It’s not easy, being a strict parent. Sometimes you’ll want to just give in and let things slide. Sometimes your teen will push back harder than you know how to handle. Whatever the outcome, keep doing your part to help your teen become the person they should be.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler Jacobson is a proud father, husband, writer and outreach specialist with experience helping parents and organizations that help troubled teen boys. Tyler has focused on helping through honest advice and humor on: modern day parenting, struggles in school, the impact of social media, addiction, mental disorders, and issues facing teenagers now. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin