I thought the tween/preteen years were rough, but the teenage years thus far have been quite a trip. Needless to say, I am looking forward to every minute of it. Aly is about to enter the 10th grade and I am so excited for what her future holds. My little overachiever has already started checking out colleges and has chosen 3 that she likes for now. Plus after attending several STEM-based camps this summer, she has her hopes set on becoming an anesthesiologist! I have a tiny tear in my eye.
Parenting a teenager, tween, and a toddler all at one time is challenging to say the least. There are emotions heightened every time I turn around. Couple that with hormones and everything else, my life (and home) are just chaotic.
It’s not all bad.
Preparing your child for the flurry of things to come over the next few years can seem a bit intimidating at first, but I promise it’s not. Establishing that relationship early one and making sure your child knows that they can come to you for anything is key.
Here is my curated “mixtape” of advice from the Center of Parent and Teen Communication that is helping us appreciate the teenage years. Make sure you click through to read each article!
Teens and Stress: Everything about being a teenager is stressful. As parents we have to teach them the appropriate ways to deal with it.
Discipline: Nobody is perfect, and teens do have to realize there are consequences for their actions.
Self-Care:This is the perfect age to start getting them in the habit of making sure they take care of themselves first. Naturally they will want to invest in others, but they need to learn about investing in them.
What does “success” look like: Society has drilled in to kids (and parents) what success should look like. It’s time that we help them learn what “real” success is.
Keep Cool: Emotions are contagious, teens have to learn to keep calm, even when others around them aren’t (or if someone is trying to provoke them).
Turning them into Successful Adults: That’s the ultimate goal
How has my parenting “mixtape” helped me parent
Let them talk
It can be hard sometimes to listen when we receive information that doesn’t always paint us in the best light. But as parents, it’s important that we listen to our kids during this time in their lives and begin to develop an open line of communication between them and us. Sometimes we learn a few things about ourselves that we may truly need to work on, and other times, we can just express to our kids why something is the way it is; just to give them a clearer understanding.
It’s okay to be their friend
When people criticize and say that “too many parents are trying to be their kid’s friends”, I don’t think they realize there are different levels and types of friendships. Even if you want to be buddy buddy with your kids it’s okay. That doesn’t mean that you don’t parent them. It can mean something as simple as making your kid comfortable enough to be open with you.
Also, being your kid’s friend can mean something as simple as hanging out with one another going to concerts or a mother/daughter, parent/child day. Being their friend or a buddy doesn’t mean you lax on the parenting portion of your relationship, but it does allow you to develop a bond with your child in a different way.
In our home, we have many talks that qualify as the talk. But no matter what we were discussing, we always wanted her, as well as the other kids, to know, that they could ask us anything at any time. We never want them to be afraid to come to us. I would much rather them be open with us at the beginning instead of us finding out something the hard way later on.
This one is for mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, whoever is raising the soon to be a teenager. Relax a little. You have to trust in your parenting abilities up to this point to know that you taught them the right thing to do. We can always hope that our kids will listen, but we never know 100% if they actually will. Don’t spend your time worrying about “what-ifs”.
Use the village
Nowadays, it feels as if the village has disappeared. It’s sad to think that we are so far removed from one another, that it can be difficult to reach out to people who have been there and done that. But I promise it doesn’t have to be that way. Your village doesn’t always have to consist of blood family, but it can be anyone from reliable neighbors, to pastors, or teachers; anyone that you trust to help guide you and your teen during this difficult time.
This post is sponsored by the Center for Parent and Teen
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.