Do you feel like you are being used? Never know what child you are going to get at any moment? Hormonal outburst are happening with no warning or reason? Feel like you are talking to a wall? Receive one word answers to almost every question? Receive text from someone in the other room? Find yourself repeating the same things 3,086,409,908 times? Reminded how much you don’t know every day?
YOU JUST MIGHT HAVE A TEENAGER!!
What I would give to go back to the potty training, diaper changing and bed time stories. I thought potty training, diaper changing, establishing bed time routines, and busy toddlers were rough. There were times I didn’t think we were going to make it with 3 children under the age 4. I remember times leaving the house not going anywhere to just get AWAY. Oh wait, I still do this sometimes…..LOL!!! I kept telling myself this too shall pass. Just when I thought one stage was done 💣💣 BOOM💣💣 it was something NEW.
Teenagers are in a critical point of their lives because they are also too young to be adults but too old to be children. They can’t comprehend and understand all the changes their body and brains are going through. Research shows that adolescents’ brains continue developing well into their mid-20s. Say what now?? 18 isn’t the magical number (insert deep sigh). We as parents have to stick together and help each other out. None of us received a manual when we left the hospital with our precious newborn. Do you ever feel like you are just making it up as you go along? Fear that you are not doing a good job? Feel like it is a constant battle? Worry about your teen gaining independence? Friends I am right there with you. Many years ago I read a book titled Good and Angry, Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids! by Scott Turansky, D. Min. and Joanne Miller, R.N. BSN (reference below). It completely changed my view of parenting. It made me grow as a parent and want to help others in their parenting journey.
FIVE K’s to help you along the journey:
Know THYSELF- What kind of parent are you?
I have 3 teenagers and one style of parenting doesn’t work for all three of them. According to Psychology, there are 4 styles of parenting. Permissive, Authoritative, Uninvolved, and Authoritarian. You can see where you fall by looking at the chart. I find myself struggling between being both high on the authoritative side and low on the authoritarian side depending on the child. I have high expectations but sometimes I say because I said so! Sometimes it has to be that way to keep your child safe. We must get to know ourselves as parent. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
Know your TEEN– Get closer to them even though they push you away. Don’t take it personal! Deep down your teen wants to know you love them. Yes it hurts to get pushed away but get closer to them. You are entering a new phase in your relationship with them and they need space. Chill with them. Sit down and watch what they are watching. Our 15 year old son loves WWE and yes I watch it with him SOMETIMES. I connect with our 17 year old with basketball, well argue but you get the idea. I connect with our 13 year old daughter on the latest middle school drama, shopping, YouTube videos, etc. Remember when you were a teen, what was it that you wanted from your parents? What did your parents do that you want to do differently?
Know their Friends- It is good to know who your teen is spending time with. You can better access who is a positive influence or not. Get to know the friends. I invite my their friends into our home. I ask them questions about their goals in life. I get silly with them and on their level to understand what they are thinking. Observe their interactions when they are around, don’t be weird of creepy. Get to know their friends parents. Host a meal and have their friends over. We all know teens love to eat! Knowing their friends MATTER!!!
Know How to Respond Going off is NOT always the answer. Warranted sometimes HOWEVER doesn’t usually solve the problem. Avoid the ParenTeen Battle with your child. Don’t get into the boxing ring with them. Dr. Scott Turansky, family coach and author of book referenced early, says when you respond to a situation in anger you have just stepped in the boxing ring. They know how to push your buttons. Remember you are the parent! We want to show our kids who is stronger and more powerful but this damages your relationship. Become their coach not opponent. To avoid the boxing ring, listen to their point of view but you make the FINAL decision. Example, if they want to attend a party that you know isn’t in a safe and supervised environment. My favorite comeback is “you are treating me like a baby” or “all my friends are going” (probably not but they still say it). Listen to their explanation don’t interrupt. Explain your reason don’t allow them to interrupt and END the conversation. DONE! Stand your ground. You’ve heard them and they have heard you, no need to go back and forth.
Know The Expectations – Expectations are set for your child to learn independence. You should have an “IF- THEN” plan. Your teen will know EXACTLY what you expect and what will happen if expectations aren’t met. Example, If you miss your curfew then you won’t be able to hang out for xx days. If you don’t clean your room, you will lose xxx. If I receive one more call from school, then you will xxx. You must set the expectations and make them clear beforehand. Be consistent with the “IF-THEN” plan. Be realistic when you set expectations. That goes back to knowing your child. I don’t have the same expectations for all 3 of my children. I have the same principles and values but individual expectations are different.
I have heard people say time and time again that kids have changed it’s the parents that have changed. We have to let our children know that life doesn’t go by their rules. There are rules in society and your house that must be followed. The parenTeen struggle comes in when you have to learn the balance between the two. Treating them like a young adult and a child at the same time. There is a very fine line in giving them too much freedom and not enough. This parenTeen subject is too complex and too important to try and cram in one post. Stay tuned next week for Part II of ParenTeen These Daze.
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Parenting Style diagram: https://csn.org/permissive-parenting-vs-authoritative-parenting-parenting-style/