As we reflect back on our lives, the teenage years come back with the pangs of regretful longing. Time tends to wash away the hurt and confusion of that awkward time. Dealing with teenagers can be a challenge. Especially this time and day with new drugs, peer pressure, and sex on the rise.
There is an old saying that goes something like this.
“Parenting teenagers is a little like trying to nail gelatin to a tree.”
Teenage brains do not work properly. I am pretty sure that there is scientific evidence to support this assertion.
Do you remember back to before you became a parent? Remember all of those ideas you had? Remember how you thought you were going to be the perfect parent to the perfect baby?
Then you had that baby and realized that you in fact knew nothing. Remember?
That is exactly what raising teenagers is like. Except that unlike parenting babies, teenagers point out to you the fact that you know nothing.
Parenting teenagers effectively means understanding your role in their life.
I’m going to put it to you straight, mom or dad. You are not your teen’s best friend.
Someday, as adults, perhaps you and your teen can realize that goal…but while your son or daughter is a teen, you have the awesome responsibility and privilege of raising them. That comes before being their friend. And frankly, it’s way more important. They can get friends anywhere. You are their only mom or dad. Parenting teenagers is tough!
You do not exist to make your teen feel good about themselves. And your teen does not exist to make you feel good about your parenting abilities, either. Your son or daughter is an independent human being working on being able to fly away and live their own life. Your job as their parent is to guide them through the growing process so they can and will fly away.
Let ‘s face it, all of our children will one day reach those dreaded “Teen Years,” but by handling the problem teen correctly from the beginning, you may find these years more rewarding than trying.
At the same time keep in mind that society is completely different today, than it was when you were sixteen, and a child’s surroundings will always play a major role in who they are. What is acceptable to the world today was in no way acceptable twenty or thirty years ago. If you are to relate and communicate with your child, you must imagine yourself as sixteen in today’s world.
When raising my children I had a special face I made when people ask me how old my children which were -17,14,and 6–and they say, “Ah, well, the older two must pretty much look after themselves. “Anyone, with an iota of sense knows that steering children through the teenage years is the most important, hardest-work bit (which is why, by the way, there’s something so insufficiently thought out about maternity leave. Lovely to be with you baby, but no more important than being there for you teenager: (we need occasional child leave as well).
I agree that having people disagree with you is annoying, especially if you gave birth to them. But we are far too quick to jump to the conclusion that our child is “difficult”, “hard work”, “a handful”, and that their acting out is designed to wound us. Most teenagers aren’t difficult at all. They are pains, which is a different thing. They’re just trying stuff out, experimenting, kicking against boundaries in a way that may be exasperating but is hardly much more.
The three most important people in a teens life are me; myself and I. Adolescents are the creatures of their own universes and everything else that revolves around them.
It’s fairly basic, but it cannot be said often enough. Teens want so much to discover who they are and to be accepted.
Teenage is a fundamental stage of life that each human being passes through. Some people face this period of their life strongly and positively, while others face many problems and difficulties. This depends on the environment these young adults live in, their parents, their friends, their living conditions, their education, and many other factors.
11 RULES FOR RAISING TEENAGERS
1. Your teens don’t want you to be their friends……. What they need is for you to be a reliable responsible role model worthy of their respect, and not some overgrown finger-snapping hipster who wears too tight jeans or T-shirts with slogans advocating the virtues of 100 proof liquor.
2. Don’t debate the teen ever……. If she wants to debate, suggest she sign up for the Debate Club, thank you very much. If you buy into their teen logic (which is basically illogic, the product of an immature brain and every extreme of emotion known to mankind) your mouth will go dry and your ears and nerves will surely fray. Teens need to know that no means no. Remember when your teen was two years old and he said “no” a lot? Well now it’s your turn, particularly when your teen want to engage in behaviors that are dangerous, or which might negatively affect their future academic, social or job prospects.
4. Encourage sports participation…… even if your teen has two left feet. In some sports, two left feet won’t knock him out of the box, so to speak. Sports participation develops perserverence and cheerfully functioning as a team member. You also will know where your child is every day after school (on the field, that is, or at a rival school). Just make sure you root for the right team, okay? Been there, done that.
7. Your teen needs to work……. unless her school and academic demands take up all available time. Why? As stated above, if allowed to vegetate, teens can and will become human sloths. Besides, these are hard times, and looking good and dressing good costs money. Anything that encourages a work ethic and sense of family duty is a good thing.
8. To know your teens’ friends is to know your teens…... Teens have a secret life, and a parent’s goal is to penetrate the veil of secrecy that is sometimes thicker than the CIA and the KGB combined. If you really want to know what your kid is up to, get to know their friends. How? By being warm and kind, and by asking questions that don’t sound like an interrogation, but which serve that purpose without their knowing it.9. Look at your teen daily and it’s okay to stare……. Notice any changes in appearance, hygiene, mood, etc. Interact meaningfully with your teen daily, and by that I don’t mean asking, “Did you take out the garbage?”10. Know that if your teen gets into hot water…….he may be too embarrassed or afraid of your wrath and disappointment to tell you, even if you have a great relationship with your teen or–think you do.11. Just when you think your teen has learned from his mistake….. he will make another doozy of a mistake. Be prepared for this. Remember: the human brain is not fully formed until age 25. Yikes!
When parents give orders, children often dig in their heels. One way to stop this happening is to let them know why something is important.
Boundaries are about setting the bottom line or making agreements about what is acceptable and what is not.
Boundaries work far better if they are made and agreed by everyone. When children see the sense of it, or know you’ve taken their opinions into account, they are more motivated to co-operate.
As children grow, most will test the limits – this is quite normal behavior. When they become teenagers you may need to change or amend these boundaries to reflect different or new behaviors and experiences.
When you do this, involve your child so that you can negotiate the new boundaries together.
Too many boundaries can cause resentment and be impossible to police. Work out what is really important to you and what you could let go.
Rules can help you keep your child safe, but as they get older you will need to negotiate and let them take more responsibility for their own safety.
There may be times when your values conflict with the values that your children are learning from other people and the media. This may be when you find yourself negotiating.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that while being an adult has all sorts of stresses and strains, being a teenager isn’t always that great either. First of all, they are at a difficult age when they’re no longer seen either as children or as adults. Secondly, their hormones are racing, they’re under pressure from friends and the latest trends won’t leave them alone. They may kick up a fuss about being old enough to look after themselves, but the truth is that teenagers don’t always make the right choices and they know this as well as you do.
Setting out some ground rules makes it clear that they’re being looked after and despite the fuss that they make about being in charge of their own lives, the boundaries actually make them feel safe and secure.
Teenagers need to be listened to – sometimes they think you’re not giving them a chance to make their case. If you want teenagers to listen to then you should try to make the effort to listen as well .
Now that I am older ( I really was a teenager once) I appreciate this little post below. I think my children understand it now! I hope you enjoy it as well!
God Bless The Parents That Drugged Us…
The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a Methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question. “Why didn’t we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?”
I replied I had a drug problem when I was young:
I was drug to church on Sunday morning.
I was drug to church for weddings and funerals
. I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather
. I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn’t put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.
I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profanity.
I was drug out to pull weeds in mom’s garden and flowerbeds and cockleburs out of dad’s fields.
I was drug to the homes of family, friends and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood; and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.
Those drugs are still in my veins and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say, or think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and, if today’s children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place.
And finally, some morale-boosters (to cut out and keep)
However visionary and brilliant your teen-taming manoeuvres, there will come a moment (or maybe several dozen) when it all blows up – and you fear all is lost. Chin up, this is no time to waver; perk up your parenting resolve and remember…
- Keep your sense of humor – you’ll need it.
- Don’t worry about the teenage years – if you do a good job now, teaching right from wrong, teaching them to think for themselves, making them feel secure etc, you’ll be fine. I find having two other ‘adults’ to share life with wonderful.
- Lock them in the cupboard under the stairs at 13, let out at 18 ready to leave home.
- My dad reckons the years between 13 and 41 are the worst. I am 41, I should add.
- Their rooms were always fairly disgusting while at home, but now the older DCs are at university and in shared accommodation, and I can honestly say their rooms now are really quite nice and tidy!
- Whether they are three or 13, babies or teenagers, never forget the mantra: It’s just a phase. This, too, will pass.
- Don’t worry – they start to become human around the age of 22.
I found this posted in the Aspen Times and I will end on this note….
Your recent column “A catcher in the wry” struck a chord with me. Might be because my husband and I are neck-deep in raising teenagers! My 90-year-old mother chuckles and says, “It’s payback time.”
Thanks, Mom, for sitting on me and pinning my shoulders to the floor to keep me from going to that party in high school after you had grounded me! I simmered down and loved you that much more for doing it!
Hold tight, all you parents of teenagers out there! I have been there and I know what you are going through.
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