Parenting teens is a whole different ballgame than parenting adolescents and toddlers, and at times, it can be challenging to be a parent of a teen. However, that isn’t to say it doesn’t come without its joy-filled moments, too.
When I first became a mother, I thought that much of parenting would come naturally. Don’t get me wrong, maybe some parts of it do. But, there will also be days where you will wonder if you know what you are doing and there will be days in which all parents could use some help. It’s very beneficial to have some things in your toolbox for a rainy day, to stay calm when you feel like you may be in over your head.
1. You can be their parent and a friend, but be their parent first and foremost.
It’s important to tread the line between parent and friend, but always remember you are their parent first and foremost. At the end of the day, they need you to be their voice of reason and they need you to set limits for them, even if they do not appreciate it yet.
2. Stop trying to change them.
It may be tempting to try to help your teen change when you notice things about them that might not be optimal. However, the more you try to change them, the more they will buck up against you. So, be sure to pick and choose your battles wisely and a major part of that is accepting them for who they are right now.
3. Understand your job will never be 50/50.
We often expect that as our kids grow into teens, they will be more responsible and contribute more around the house. While this may be partially true, it’s really far-fetched to imaging your kids will ever give as much as you do, because when it comes down to it, that is not really the way of things in the world.
4. Keep your standards high.
Deep down, our kids want to be their best selves, and we play a major role in this. It’s our job to hold our kids to high standards and to support them in reaching them. With that said, you should never choose your child’s path or goals in life, that is for them to decide.
5. Sometimes, they need your ears more than they need a lecture.
It might feel like the right thing to do, to stow away lectures for a rainy day, but there will be times when you feel like maybe you should give a lecture when it’s not optimal. When your child comes to you, upset, because something is happening in their lives, put off the lecture and listen to them.
6. Give them some room to grow.
You cannot hover over your teens forever. One day, they will branch out and leave your nest, and when they do, it’s your job to help prepare them. One aspect of this is giving them some independence and some space.
7. Don’t take it personally.
When your teen does teen things, like tell you to leave them alone or tell you how much they ‘hate you’ don’t take it personally. That may be easier said than done, but hear me out. Your kid’s hormones are fluctuating by the minute and they are in the midst of a very stressful and confusing time in their life. Much of what they say, they don’t even understand.
8. Take timeouts.
If you get the feeling in a conversation with your teen that they are becoming upset or frustrated at you, don’t be afraid to take a break and revisit the conversation later. Simply say, “Let’s take a beat and revisit this later.”