Keeping Up With The Teenagers

Parenting is not the easiest thing to do in the world, but it’s the thing that is most rewarding. Knowing you are raising tiny humans into fully-functioning adults with manners, quirks and a great sense of humor is something to be proud of. Babies are a blessing, sure, they cry to communicate, and sleep may be the last thing on the agenda for the day, but they’re a blessing.

Pre-schoolers are blessed with a full range of speech, often asking the most hilarious and impolite questions in the world. They’re sweet and full of love and cuddles and an innocence about life that can melt the steeliest adult heart. There’s even an entire TV show dedicated to the hilarious things that kids say but what about teenagers? Teenagers often get a bad rap; they’re moody, surly, they grunt in answer to questions. Teenagers are ‘hormonal’ (duh!) and they don’t pick up after themselves – so they say. I say that if you raise your teens right, you can get through those puberty years with little to no scarring. It all comes down to keeping up with them and parenting them in a positive and balanced way.

adult, beautiful, child

Positive parenting isn’t just for toddlers who throw tantrums, because let’s face it, teenagers ARE overgrown toddlers. We just don’t tell them that. A toddler will throw a fit if they don’t get their way because they cannot separate their feelings and manage them appropriately. They’re pint-sized bottles of emotion and they cannot control them. Teenagers are a taller counterpart. The growth that they go through as teenagers brings up a whole new host of emotions and feelings and changes, conveniently just after they’ve gotten over the last growth spurts in childhood. Insert eye roll here, please! A teenager who doesn’t get their way can be as volatile as the toddler that they once were.

The trick? Knowing them. Communicating with them. Working WITH them to get to the desired result as grown-ups. Teenagers believe that they know it all, right? Well, as the adults in the family, you have to sit down and teach them how to explain their point maturely. You can also learn a thing or two from your teenager and cultivate a trustworthy and honest relationship that is mutually beneficial. It sounds clinical, but parenting a teenager has to be organised and straightforward. There cannot be room for your teenager to lie to you, and there has to be room for your teenager to grow. It’s all about balance. You can be their friend, of course, you can, but you have to be a parent first and foremost, and that’s the hardest thing about parenting someone who isn’t yet an adult but just speaks like one!
Getting on the level of your teenager doesn’t mean that you have to start upping your internet connectivity with and allowing them to stream illegal films and TV shows. It does, however, mean that when they ask you for an extra TiVo box to be put in the den so that you can convert it into a private hangout, you could think about it and maybe give a little. No one wants their teenager to shut themselves away in their room for hours at a time, and no one wants to give them a smartphone to allow them free reign on the internet for hours on end. However, as a parent, you have to appreciate that you were once a teenager, too. Imagine how you would have felt if your parents blocked your every chance to do something that just belonged to you? Pretty silly, I think.

Five Women Laughing

One of the best ways that you can get on the level of your teenager is to carve out some one on one time with them. They may not like the idea of a family night, thinking it to be cheesy and outdated. The thing is, families hardly get any time together these days, and you being able to establish some time to keep your bond strong is so important. Think about a once a week games night. No electronics, no smartphones, no selfies. Just you and your children together playing games, having delicious food and enjoying each other’s company. It’s not something that every family gets to enjoy anymore and the pressures on teens to study, have a social life and even have a job can be blamed here. Pick one evening a week together and you could rotate who chooses what you do. You could even use that evening as the time one of you cooks for everyone else; let your teenagers pick the recipes in the kitchen and cook it from start to finish. Those cheesy nights can really help to open them up and you can get a little debate going with your conversations each week so that you can get to know them personally.
These are the kids that were once your babies. Imagine not being able to laugh and have a little joke with them as well as being a parent? It would be too hard. You’re a family, and while you’re there to give them boundaries, you’re not there to keep them imprisoned, much as you would like to! When a party comes up, discuss it with them; who’s going, where is it being held, is there an adult present? These questions will be natural, but if you establish that honesty and they do not lie about their whereabouts, they will find themselves with many more opportunities ahead for them. Teenagers may not be easy to parent, but they are fun to get to know all over again. They may not like playing with plasticine and cars anymore, but they still want to be with you – they just don’t know about it! Make it your mission to keep your family open and communicative and you can keep up with your teenagers as if they are the babies you once had. Life doesn’t have to be a stress for a happy family to be real!

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