March 6, 2014

A Parent’s Guide to Surviving Teenagers.

T. P. the House

There are times, raising my teenagers, when I can’t believe what I signed up for.

Some days raising teenage kids feels impossible. I worked my tail off for over a decade, raising my kids to be thoughtful, smart, helpful, funny, kind and authentically themselves. It was a lot fun! Who knew that at age 11ish they would all go completely rogue?

3 Tricks for Parenting Teenagers

1. Trust that we’ve parented them well.

I spent my kid’s early years laying a solid foundation. My teenagers have been, typically, hardheaded at times. I watch them do stupid things. This is when I take a deep breath and a giant step backward; I understand that I can not fail for them. I love them enough to watch them make their own mistakes. I remind them that I am always available for a hug or a talk. They also know that if things get too deep, I will intervene and bail them out. I remind myself that deep down, they have a good head on their shoulders and they travel with a pack of angels.

2. Parent from a safe distance.

Teenagers need a lot of space. If they don’t get it, they push back hard. Teenagers can be downright nasty; they also need a lot of sleep. To preserve my own sanity, I let go of the way I wish things could be. I sometimes let them eat dinner by themselves in their own bedrooms, instead of nagging them to join us at the table. If they can’t stand being touched, I smile instead of hugging them. I encourage them to go to bed early and let them take as many naps as humanly possible.

3. Take care of myself and my future.

A lot of my identity has been wrapped up in being a parent. Watching my kids slip quickly out of the nest, leaves me wondering who I am and what I will do when they grow up. I have always engaged in my own hobbies and activities outside of my family. As the kids get older, I realize that it’s high time for me to get more training and start reinventing who I will be on my own. This provides me a growing sense of security and gives my kids a chance to be proud of me. Learning new things is good for everyone.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Ugh. Dealing with teenagers, day in and day out sometimes tires me out—finding a break usually seems out of the question.

The best solution to ease this dreadful feeling is humor. There are times when a parent just needs a quick laugh or something to make us smile.

I believe that a good belly laugh can save the day.


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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: IAN/ flickr

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