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.
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.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: IAN/ flickr