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Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Joy of Teenagers

Today at church I was told that teenagers were the most difficult part of parenting. I think her exact words were that teenagers were meant to be evil to help parents in the process of pushing them out of the nest.

This amazes me on so many levels. I tend to feel that the teenage years can be the absolute best years of parenting. When your children reach the teen years, they are growing more mature and more capable of understanding very complex information. This time in their lives is so crucial to determining what path they may follow in their adult lives. As parents, it's important to treasure the teen years and use these years wisely in order to provide your kids with the best possible foundation for adulthood.

The key to successful parenting of teens is remembering. Remember your own years as a teenager and how awkward life was. Remember how big each obstacle was to your own mind then. Remember how you felt when you interacted with your parents, what it was your parents did that annoyed you and what pleased you. Try to reconnect with your own inner teenager in order to connect with your teenage child. Recalling how your life was will help you realize what your child is going through, and that this stage is very normal. You'll also be able to anticipate what your child needs and more readily provide the appropriate responses.

Cherish the teenager instead of dreading these years. Attitude is very important, and a negative attitude towards this part of parenting will certainly insure a negative experience.

13 comments:

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

I am having quite a difficult time coping with my two teenage boys. They never confide in me and would rather seek the company of their own peers. They are both addicted to online games and would rather play than study their school lessons. My wife is working in the States and we all have to cope with that. I just entrust them to the good hands of the Lord. Thanks for the wonderful post. God bless you always.

The Mind of a Mom said...

Oh my gosh I loved my son as a teen and I am having a blast with The girl also. I don't dread them.

The Mother said...

Teenagers are evil so the parent will push them out???

That could explain an awful lot...

But in my experience, teenagers are only sporadically evil. You love them AND want them to leave, alternately.

So I guess it isn't working very well...

Cascia said...

You have a great blog here! I just thought I would say hello. Thanks for sharing this valuable information about parenting teens.

Lee Ann said...

It seems with my teen it is a love/hate relationship and it changes from second to second. This was a great reminder that something as simple as adjusting my attitude and outlook can change the whole dynamic with my teen.

attygnorris said...

I have a several years to go before my daughter is a teenager, but honestly, I have been dreading it already. You provide some GREAT advice... and I'm surprised that I haven't seen others say things like this:

"The key to successful parenting of teens is remembering. Remember your own years as a teenager and how awkward life was."

I will keep that in mind. Thanks!

Davida

Mom said...

Davida,

This advice rings true for every age. If you stop to consider the perspective of your child and how difficult things can be at your child's age, then you will have a far easier time parenting and understanding your child.

I'm glad you have gained something from my ramblings.

--Mom

Tina said...

While I agree with you to a certain extent I also have to interject that this can also be very situational. We have four girls that have grown and moved on. They are in their 20's now. We also have three that are older teens and still at home. Our four oldest were almost like having quads as they were two and two only a grade apart. Life was intense, and having them in public school only made it more intense.

The three youngers are homeschooled, although the eldest of the three is not in college, and our relationship with them is a world of difference from the four older. We actually have a real relationship with them, and our home is unbelievably more peaceful.

When you are facing the challenge of a public school schedule and only have your children in your presence for an hour or so a day it isn't enough time to have a quality relationship with them. It's tough to be their number one influence when you see them less than their teachers and peers.

I am enjoying my second batch of teens MUCH more than the first! And, I do think there is something to the stages of life, or we'd never want our children to leave and venture on their own. Isn't that why we raise them? So that they can be productive individuals and have a cool life of their own.

Mom said...

Tina,

Kudos to you for home schooling. It takes a great deal of time and commitment. It isn't for everybody, though.

However, public schools do not automatically condemn parents to having a poor relationship with their teens. Nor does the amount of time one is able to spend with said teen automatically infer that the relationship is doomed to be in the category of "not real".

My son is 14 and I see him every other weekend for most of the year. We have an amazing and wonderful relationship that I cherish for the joy that he brings to me. We have a very real relationship even though we are unable to spend a great deal of time together.

Granted, the child's personality and the family situation does play a part in the lives of your teenagers. And it is the ultimate goal to get your kids out of the house and on their own, but this goal is easily accomplished with love and compassion (unlike my own stepmother who literally kicked me out and said she didn't want to have to put up with me anymore...). Teaching your child to grow up and be on his own does not mean that you can not fully enjoy and appreciate the journey to his adulthood.

Ultimately, it is all about your own attitude as a parent. How you respond to your children carries a great deal effect on their own attitudes.

Personally, I find the concept that teenagers are evil serves itself to be a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you expect the worst from your children, you are almost certainly going to receive their very worst because they will not be interested in giving you their best.

Petula said...

When my oldest daughter was about 9 or 10 people (also at church!) were very negative about the approaching teen years. I made sure to correct them especially when they said that to them that we would be just as close.

There was an instance when she was about 14 that I realized how most parents lose that connection with their teen and I made a conscious effort to resist backing off, giving space or being scared of her maturing and growing. I adjusted and changed with her and the results is a teenager and mom who love each other dearly and think of each other as best friends!

Sorry for the long comment. :)

Melissa said...

LOL, "teenagers are evil so you will push them out".... NOW I understand the attitude, lol!!

Mrs4444 said...

This is excellent advice! I agree wholeheartedly.

lorela said...

hi, this is an insightful post. i agree that we should know how to remember how we were and learn from it when dealing with our own kids...