I am the mother of 6 kids. I have the best kids ever but no matter how amazing your kids are, teen years bring new challenges and great joys. My Lisa is 12 years old and my baby girl. She is the sweetest kid and can make anyone feel welcomed and part of her world but at the first of this year when she started sixth grade I had a sweet little girl and by the end of the year, I was asking “who are you, and what did you do with my Lisa?” This is such a confusing time for your child because they still want to be little sometimes but then they want to be so grown up at the same time. Since this isn’t my first rodeo, you would think I would be a pro at this but each kid is soooo different and you can’t treat them in the same way. Yes, some kids are easier but don’t believe anyone that says that they have it all figured out. I love the teen years, even with the struggles, because they are growing into wonderful young adults but it still can be frustrating as a parent. Since I have been thinking about this a lot lately, I thought I would put together a list of things that have worked for me, so I can get a game plan for Lisa and maybe it will help one of you lovely ladies.
1. Rebellion- It’s Not Personal: This is a confusing time for your kiddo, they want to be so grown up. The reason they rebel is to become their own person. When you take their rantings and drama personally, you become their enemy, and it turns into a tug a war. This is so hard for me, not that I take it personally but I just don’t want them to make a mistake that will affect their whole life. Remember, sometimes it’s hard but they really need their parents at this time and they aren’t always going to like you but they will always love you!
2. Dreams: Your child has dreams and you want them to share them with you. Listen, really listen and learn about their dreams, it might not be what you want for them but instead of sending a negative message take the time to help them achieve their goals and if you don’t agree there is ways to shape and direct them in a positive way. All my kids have been interested in different things and sometimes as a parent it’s hard for us because we want to be the expert, but this is a great time for your child to be the expert, let them teach you about their “loves”. You might find out that you have a new “love” and this will bring you closer to your child.
3. Trust: Trust is one of the most important asset you can have between you and your child. If they trust you, they can discuss difficult things with you. Some things are hard to discuss with them but you would rather them coming to you than someone that doesn’t care for them as much as you do.
4. Quality Time: Although you may receive a few eye rolls and deep sighs, your teen DOES want to spend time with you. They just don’t want you to know that. Even if it’s a drama filled day, make sure that you don’t just shut down, believe me, sometimes it seems like that would be the best thing to let them hang out in their room but your missing the opportunity to let them know that you love them no matter what! They will remember this when they get older. Make sure to make the time do things as a family and with them individually. They need to know that their family always has their back and home is a safe haven.
5. Praise Constantly: This is the biggest tool in your parent tool chest. It’s easy when they make good grades, hit the homerun, or they win the race but you need to praise them for being themselves! Show them that you love them most of all for who they are. Make sure not to make it a generic praise like: your so good, your amazing, but point specific things that you have noticed because kids notice if the praise is genuine.
Teen years are hard for you and your child. You are both growing in the process and both of you will be changed forever. Enjoy the journey and be kind to yourself because nobody does everything perfect. Your sweetie is still there but just growing and discovering new things! What has worked for you? I would love to hear!!!!
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