Moms of Teenagers
As you know, if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, I have three children. I have survived 2 teenage daughters and am trudging through the boy's early teenage years. I get asked a lot by other moms how I survived the teenage years. It wasn't easy. At all. Not even a little bit.
Every child is different. But, they all have ways of testing their limits and seeing how far they can push you. And it seems that in the teenage years, that is their life goal. I will admit, I have failed quite a few times and let my anger overwhelm me and probably made mistakes. We are all going to do that. My oldest pushed me to my limits many times. Many, many times. Before she moved out for college, I tried to kick her out a couple times. One time, I literally put all of her stuff on the sidewalk in front of the house. Yep. Not a proud mom moment. But, it happened. Her and I butt heads even now that she is living on her own. I believe that the teenage years are for them to find themselves. I also think this is the time that they need more parenting than less. Even more than the toddler years. I'm not saying be a helicopter parent. You do have to cut the apron strings a little. But, be there. Keep the lines of communication open. Keep asking questions about their day, their friends, etc. They are going to try to push you away. Try not to take this seriously. It's going to hurt, but just keep in mind, they are going to come back to you. They are going to realize they need you in their lives.
The other point that I try to make is that yes, this is the time that you are going to want to be their friend, but they need parenting more. I think a lot of parents forget this. You are the parent. And they are still children. I have seen this happen before and it doesn't end well because the child thinks they are equal to the parent and as such, doesn't need to listen to the rules, what they're told, etc. I just had this conversation with my brother. No, they aren't going to like you when you throw the parent card down, but they'll get over it. It's a very fine line that you have to tiptoe on at this age. Like I said, you want to keep the communication flowing, but you have to keep the parental role, not friend. There is plenty of time for being their friend when they move out and are adults. That is when you are equals. At this stage, it's more detrimental to your relationship, in my opinion.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am not an expert. I have no psychology degree, no bachelor's in child development. This is all by trial and error. I have been flying by the seat of my pants for 22 years now as a mom. I learn as I go. And I don't think any amount of parenting books really prepare you for the teenage years.
Girls are much different than boys. Boys are less drama than the girls, but the attitude seems to be worse. And we're just starting his! Lord, help me. The main thing that I have learned is that, yes, there are going to be bad times with your kids, you're going to lose your temper, teenagers are going to distance themselves, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. They do come back. They do turn into human beings again. I promise!