|Now, you've gone and done it!
Didn't anyone tell you that having babies is the easy
part--that they eventually grow up and turn into teenagers who make your
life a living hell? Oh, sure, you thought about it for about five
seconds and then you went ahead and had kids, anyhow. Are you suicidal,
If you think the terrible twos were bad, wait until you
have to start dealing with all the foibles and frustrations of putting
up with the terrible thirteens, fourteens, fifteens, etc. Just when
you think you get them all figured out, they have another birthday and
the whole mess starts all over again.
Do you remember what your mother told you when she couldn't
take your own teeanaged craziness any longer? She put the "Mother's
Curse" on you when she exclaimed, "I hope you have three kids just like
you!" You did. The curse worked.
Now, what are you going to do?
Say, I have a suggestion.
Why not enjoy them and make the years you spend raising
your teenagers some of the best of both your life and theirs as well.
Stay with me now....
| Raising teenagers can be either the best or the worst
of experiences. It really does depend on how you are going to approach
it and what attitude you are going to take toward them. Once you
decide that you are indeed going to approach it positively, you will find
yourself doing much better as a parent and your teen will appreciate it
Excellent Communications: Take
time to talk with your teen. Too many parents communicate only too
well when there is a problem that must be discussed or an issue results
in the need to vent it in no uncertain terms. However, if that is
the only way that you ever communicate with your teen then you can only
expect constant friction.
Although, those moments are going
to happen in the best of teen-parent relationships, there needs to be more
times when the two of you simply chat.
However, there are three rules of
thumb concerning this....
Take time to do things with your teens. We have heard much about
spending "quality time" with our children. However, that phrase carries
with it the idea of limited interaction. No matter how nice the times
are that you share together, there needs to be plenty of them. Should
that be the case, then looking at old photo albums or working on the car
together becomes special by virtue of the fact that they are normal, relaxed,
and everyday kinds of things that you simply "do" together.
Timing: It has to be a few moments when it
is natural and not forced. Wait for those nice times when both of
you don't have something else that needs to be done or some place to go.
Topic: Parents feel that they are the ones
who have to choose what is to be talked about. Avoid this.
Instead, encourage your teen to talk to you about anyting.
Tone: Avoid any argumentation or even stress
in your voice, no matter what your teen says. Young people love to
shock their parents. Be unshockable. Instead, always respond
and never react. Reply in a calm voice. Otherwise, be a mature
adult parent who gains and keeps the respect of your teenager.
Cool Discipline: The
generatin before last would beat their kid's heads in if they misbehaved.
Then, the last generation decided to let them get away with everything.
The pendulum seems to swing from one side to the other depending upon when
you were born. You'd think that we were all smart enough to figure
out that extremes do not work with anyone. The point here is that
the parent who maintains a balance between good discipline and giving your
teen "enough rope to hang hm/herself" will do a much better job of getting
their child over the rough spots.
Where? Avoid taking teens to places where
all of their friends hang out. They like to be with their parents
but not necessarily where all of their friends can see them. It has
nothing to do with not loving you or being ashamed. On the contrary,
it is purely cultural and comes with the normal stages of growth during
the teen years. Also, ask them where they want to go. You may
not enjoy the movie they choose or the fast food joint they pick out, but,
after all, you're doing this for your teen and not yourself. Right?
When? Find times when neither of you are in
a hurry. Forcing your teen to go shopping with you (because we will
have such a nice time together when his/her friends are getting together
at Tommy's house in a few hours) won't work. Wait until you have
an entire afternoon or evening free together.
Why? Because your career and your social life,
regardless of how they seem to take priority over raising your teen right
now, will be greatly impacted in an extremely negative way in the future
if you don't spend plenty of time with them now. Otherwise, you may
think that you can get away with limiting your time with them now but you'll
be sorry when your ignoring them results in your being forced to deal with
much bigger issues when they become adults.
Don't talk to your teen--talk "with"
Be Calm: Every teen screws up once in awhile.
Your child is not perfect and placing unrealistic expections on him/her
will only prove the point. When they mess up, do NOT lose your cool.
Do NOT react. Stay calm and respond to your teen's indiscretions
as a mature adult who is in control. You see, before you can get
them to behave, you have to have their respect.
Be Courtious: Whatever you do, do NOT embarass
them in front of their friends. This is the unpardonable sin in the
world of teenagers. A parent in control will take their child aside
and then deal with the situation. Show them respect, too.
Be Constrained: There are many views on whether or
not discipline should include physical punishment and to what degree.
However, once a child has entered into his/her teens, that should be a
mute subject. They are now on their way to becoming adults.
That being said, perhaps we do need to listen to their oft-said montra,
"Treat me like an adult and I will act like one." There are many
other forms of punishment (grounding, monetary, take the car away, loss
of privileges, etc.). Use these instead. They will still communicate
the fact that life is filled with consequences while demonstrating once
more that you are both in control and under control.
Don't take your teen somewhere--go
"with" him/her to a place where you can both have fun together.
Don't make your teen behave--teach
them that being an adult means dealing with the consequences of misbehaving.
Raising teens will only be as hard
and difficult as you want to make it. Conversely, although doing
so is never easy, you will be much more successful if you determine to
communicate well, spend time doing things together, and responding (instead
of reacting) when they goof up.
Enjoy your teens!
Someday, they may very well tell
you that their teenaged years were the best and that you helped make them
© all rights reserved - 10/22/2001-----
The mission of this not-for-profit website is to promote clear insights
and toleration regarding the many variations of primary relationships that
exist in our world. We ask for neither acceptance or approval but
hope that each visitor who reviews the pages of this site will leave them
with a better understanding of the numerous cultural, historical, preferential,
religious, sexual, and sociological approaches to coupling that have always
existed and will continue to exist as long as there are at least two human
beings living on this planet. If the effort put into creating and
maintaining this site results in others coming to the realization that
the basic human need to love and be loved takes on many forms which are
accepted by those who practice them, whether right or wrong as determined
by the personal belief system of others, then it will have served it's