When Raising Teens, Sometimes You Have To Screw The Rules
Almost 13 years ago, as I stared down at my newborn baby boy with his stormy blue eyes and crazy Mohawk of white blonde hair shooting up from his head, I truly thought I had things under control.
I’d read ALL the books, and visited ALL the parenting websites, and subscribed to ALL the magazines. I’d done my research and I was a woman with a plan.
He was going to eat every X number of hours, and nap every X number of hours, and we would follow a routine and he’d be sleeping through the night in no time.
It took me less than 48 hours to figure out this kid was not on board with my plan, not even one little bit. The blonde Mohawk should have tipped me off from the get-go.
This kid was going rogue….
The battle that went down the next few years was epic. I was determined to enforce my preconceived set of rules, and he was determined to defy me on every front.
Until one day, the universe staged an intervention.
During the middle of yet another one of my struggles to get him to bend to my will, see things my way and comply, I realized taking on my toddler was ridiculous.
“Screw the Rules!” I said out loud to myself.
I wasn’t prepared to spend the next 18 years at war with my baby boy. So, I needed to change my strategy.
If he could go rogue, then so could I.
Being consistent is the mantra of all parenting experts. And while it is important, it doesn’t mean that we can’t admit when something just isn’t working and change course.
There is a reason kids don’t come with instructional manuals.
There is no standard operating procedure for these mini-humans. Every single one is unique at birth, and they are constantly changing.
Who they are today may not be who they are tomorrow and who they are tomorrow may not be who they are next week.
Oh, and at no time is this more true than the tween and teen years.
You want to talk about going rogue?
There is so much change going on in that teenage brain. Hormones, growth spurts, peer pressure, and the intensifying struggle between remaining a child while at the same time forging their path to independence can make our kids seem like crazy people.
Rules and boundaries remain a foundation of our parenting because boy, will they be putting them to the test.
But we also need to maintain a level of flexibility that allows us to recognize when the rules need to bend and boundaries need to be moved.
We have to be willing to relinquish some control.
We have to be willing to acknowledge when maybe our kid is just wired a little differently.
We have to be willing to accept that parenting doesn’t come in one size fits all.
Now that they are older, instead of talking at them, we need to talk with them, and we need to listen. Sometimes it will be irrational jibberish coming out of their mouths, but on occasion, there is wisdom.
They are beginning to really understand who they are and what makes them tick, and it can mean that we’re reaching a point where sometimes they know themselves better than we do.
Way back then, when I decided that it was time to “screw the rules,” it meant trusting myself.
Now, it means trusting him.
Looking for a some more advice, tips and support to get you through these teen years?