3 Most Important Rules I’ve Learned About Parenting Teens
This Mother’s Day was an eye-opener for me.
Both my older girls made me Mother’s Day cards and though the artwork was impressive, the thing that made me cry were the words written within. Words of appreciation and love.
It made me realized that my teens and I have come a long way since I wrote the post on why my children hate me.
Yes, my girls who are now 14 and almost 16 years old have done a lot of growing up this past 18 months. Not all the growing up that needs doing but enough to where we’re at a point that they know they can talk to me and I can easily trust them.
Getting to this point was no easy feat. We had four months of family therapy. Not only to shrink their heads, but mine too.
Today, we are open and honest with one another. There are no walls, though there are some boundaries and there is lots of trust.
Now I don’t know EVEYRTHING there is to know about parenting teens, since I’m still doing it for the first time, but here’s what I’ve learned.
1. Trust first. Once I showed them I had trust in them, they trusted me. Though I always knew my girls were good girls, I didn’t trust their choice in friends at the time and the way those friends influenced them. Now I trust them to be their own persons and make their decisions based on what they’ve learned from me and they trust me enough to tell me about a situation first instead of automatically assuming I’d say no and sneaking off to do what they want.
2. Listen first. I’ve learned that listening is a two way street and it’s not enough to just listen to the words with my experience in mind. I need to listen to the needs and feelings behind those words and ask what I need to ask to fully get a handle of what my child wants. My girls have also learned to listen and to ask “what ifs” and “whys” to try to understand the reasons behind my words instead of just nodding their agreement. All conversations and requests are still open and not acted upon until we come to a …
3. Compromise. Yes, in parenting teens, compromises have to be made. Though I want to protect them from making mistakes I made and I want to pave the way for them to conquer the world by making decisions for them, I have to let them do it based on their own understanding driven by my support and wisdom, not based solely on my experiences. I have to be willing to compromise and let them try new things, but with the understanding that I am there to support them when needed and armed with the knowledge I have on the situation.
These three little Golden rules go a long way and are now the basis of our relationship. Not every conversation is easy, but when I remember these 3 rules, decisions are made that we can all live with and our bonds grow stronger.
What rule would you add to the list?