16 Oct 2012

Parenting another life force (Teens)

In the past few years, there has been a shift at my house, life is changing fast.  There has been a major change in attitude, a change in the way we function, and a whole new side of parenting to adjust to. We have turned a corner, and our family has morphed into a completely different style ...... We are growing up !!!  and it's not just the boys that are having to adjust. I for one have days when I struggle with the fact that I no longer have babies or little kids around the house, and I am sure that they struggle with mum still being in control (or at least trying to stay in control)
Come January, all my boys will have stepped through the door into teenage world, all four, are all of a sudden trying to find their own voices, and the place in this world where they belong, and at times, I feel as though I am being left behind.

As our kids grow, it seems to us parents that we are needed less and less in our children's lives, and it can be difficult to know when it is the right time to step in with advice and when to hold our tongues and let them wing it on their own. The teenage years are tricky, they don't believe that they need us, but in truth its the time in their life when they need us the most (weather they believe it or not).
Parenting is tough, no matter what the stage, the toughest job we are ever likely to have, but can also be the most rewarding. However just when you think you have everything all figured out, you turn a corner and head in a completely new direction.

Does it ever get any easier ? Sorry, but I cant say that it does.

Parenting my boys when they were younger was much easier. I seemed to be able to handle things in a much calmer, smoother way and the end result that I was after, was much easier to achieve.
To me, teens seem to be another life force altogether, a new species, one that I don't believe I have worked out quite yet even though I have had a few years experience with them now.
Why is saying no to teens never enough ? why does it seem as though the world is ending when they hear that word ? its as though you need to write a novel as to why you are actually saying no. It can be very painful, they argue and stomp around the place as if you told them they are to never be seen or heard from again ! and even though I try my best not to, I do sometimes  loose the plot and argue back. Childish ? Bad parenting ? Probably....but I am not perfect and have never claimed to be.

We have all been teenagers, and we all know that these are not easy times, but it is also easy to forget what these years were actually like for us, there are so many changes and challenges both physically and mentally, that we can all loose sight of what is important.
To help me through these trying times, (when I do actually keep my cool and try my best to understand) I try to follow a few easy steps to ensure that I am heard, that I am listening and hopefully reach a verdict that is acceptable by all parties involved.

  • Try to remember if you were ever in a similar situation as a teen and how you dealt with it.
  • Ask questions first. Do not accuse.
  • Stay calm and approachable (this is not always easy I know)
  • Involve your teen in decision making.
  • Set clear boundaries but also be flexible. 
  • Always be available
  • Be open and listen
  • And always make sure your teen knows that you are always there for them no matter what.
These tips are not always easy, and can get lost along the parenting road, but if we try and stick to the basics, parenting teens does not always have to be a bumpy, scary road to travel.

Happy parenting !!



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