Parenting Teens and Tweens
Wow, we think the early years of parenting are hard with the sleepless nights, food battles and potty training. But then they turn into teenagers and we realize that all that really was child’s play in comparison to parenting teens and tweens.
Once we are in the thick of raising teenage daughters and teenage sons, we suddenly understand that teenage problems are so much bigger than we ever expected. We also discover that the wealth of resources and online support that was there to help us when we our kids are young suddenly disappears.
Raising Teens and Tweens
Advice for raising teens and tweens is hard to find and so is a good support network. While it was once cute and acceptable to share stories of sippy cup woes and epic meltdowns, the problems our adolescents face aren’t nearly as cute. Plus, their not so happy about us sharing their issues in real life or in the online world.
There are so many things we feel unprepared for at this stage. How do we connect with them at a point in their lives when their looking for independence and pushing us away? How to we get them to open up when they’re wanting to shut down?
Communicating With Teens and Tweens
Creating open communication with our teens takes work. It means asking lots of open ended questions that show genuine interest and concern, instead of feeling like we’re coming at them with accusations and agendas. We have to listen more than we talk and be willing to take their problems and opinions seriously.
But we also can’t shy away from tough topics. Our teens need, and want, our guidance even if they don’t always act like it. We need to talk about teen alcohol and drug use, sexuality and mental health. But today’s technology issues has give our generation of parents a whole new set of conversations to have with our teens. We thought the sex talk was uncomfortable, but now we also have to cover nude selfies, sexting and online porn.
And these aren’t one and done kinds of conversations. The dialogue with our teens should be ongoing and that requires some strategy on our part. Car rides to school, afterschool Starbucks stops or persuading them to help us prepare dinner all present perfect opportunities to talk. It’s really all about the little moments.
You Can Still Build a Strong Relationship With Your Teens
But these moments are becoming every fewer and we need to keep that in mind. We don’t want to spend these final years when our teens are home with us fighting with them. Parenting teens and tweens can be challenging, but they are also amazing.
This is a time in our teenage sons and teenage daughters lives when they are really discovering what matters to them and the kind of adult they want to be. We are given a unique opportunity to get to know this new, more grown-up version of our kids, but we have to make an effort. We have to be willing to let them be their own people.
Building a strong relationship with our teens matters, because it is the foundation for a future friendship with them when they are adults. Yes, we must be their parents now and it’s not always going to be easy, but it will be worth it one day.