Raising teens is very rewarding and very frustrating all at the same time. One week we want to control everything they do, the next we want to wash our hands of the whole mess and leave them to themselves.
What’s a mom to do?
Here are a few “simple” tips, based on life experience, that I hope will give you some ideas, insights and inspiration!
1. Teens want conversation.
It may take them a while to get going, but if you make yourself available and prove that you are willing to listen – teens will openly share and process their lives with you. Maybe you won’t get to sleep until the wee hours, but you did it when they were babies, you can do it again.
2. Teens need down time.
Our society is filled with overworked, stressed out workaholic adults who strive constantly. Help your teens learn the value of down time and the need to cease striving.
3. Teens need role models.
They are watching, processing and learning from their environment and the people around them. Be very intentional about who you have your teens spend time with, they will “pick up” and “mimic” more than you can imagine by what they see and hear. If there is a young adult you admire, find ways to get them together – be bold and flat out ask!
4. Teens want limits.
Yes, your teens may push back when you set limits, curfews and expectations, but adhering to boundaries helps them learn just how much freedom and safety is gained because of them. Meeting expectations made by those in authority over them will serve them well in life.
5. Teens will do as you do, not as you say.
If you are frustrated by some of your teens activities and attitudes, recognize that there is a very good chance they are reflecting what they have learned at home. So some good old-fashioned discussion about working together to make changes and do better is in order. They learn humility from you, too.
6. Teens must be allowed to fail.
Making every decision for your teens to protect them from mistakes prevents them from being able to make decisions for themselves once they are out of your home. Allow them the room for success and failure and teach them how to deal with mistakes and come out stronger on the other side.
7. Teens should not condemn differences.
The world is full of people who believe and behave differently than you and your family. They will know us by our love – teach your teen to love those who are different, not condemn or judge. It is better to reach out in love or walk away in love.
8. Teens need to be grounded.
When your teen starts to be overly influenced by the world, then it is time to take your teen out of the world. A good thirty-day grounding, with no electronics, no social life, no worldly influence works wonders. Time spent with just family will remind them of who they are and whose they are – the key is to keep the communication flowing. As the thirty days draws to a close have them write about what they learned and share it with you. (And keep that writing close by as they may need to be reminded of what they learned.)
9. Teens are mean.
Your teens live in a world where their peers can be less than kind and most of the time they feel watched and judged and the pressure can be overwhelming, or a weapon used to influence. You, mom, need to try hard to be their soft place and a bastion of support.
10. Teens need love.
When you get right down to it we are all searching for love and at a time in life that is filled with hormones, peer pressure and a search for independence that still honors, what better time in life for a teen to know that more than anything else they are loved by mom!
Do you have some teen tips you can share with us?