Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Parenting Teens

Me and my Teens

Parenting teens is very challenging. I would much rather stay up all night with a colicky baby, than to be up all night with my child out there somewhere. Not that my children have really ever stayed out all night but other things keep me up. For example, how do I make sure they make the right choices? How do I encourage them to do the right thing? When do I stand back and allow them to make a mistake and learn from it and when are the stakes too high to allow that?

Of course these are all things that you need to work out with your own conscience and values. My personal opinion is that it is best for them to make mistakes when they are younger teens and still come to you for advice and help. As they get older they come to you less and less. The mistakes they make and get help with will guide them to make better choices and if handled right make them feel comfortable to come to you still. This behavior of breaking away is developmentally appropriate but I, along with many other parents of teens struggle with this. Letting go of your most precious loved one is so hard. Knowing what is out there, not knowing what new dangers lurk about, all makes for a challenge of a lifetime. There is no teen proofing the world.

I do not agree that it is good to shelter teens from the realities, rather I prefer to support them to make the better choices. This has been hard, with my daughter I really struggled letting go, she made some choices I wish she hadn’t, but in the end she is growing into a very responsible and accomplished adult.  She learned from those mistakes and was able to incorporate them into her adulthood.

Foot Ball Team, #55
My son is at that age where he is all about football and girls. He just got his first girlfriend, and they went to the high school dance together. I am sure they will go to the movies soon too. I talk to him about respecting her boundaries, keeping his, and safe sex too. I would prefer he still thought girls had cooties, at least until college, but that is not happening. While I went through this with my daughter it is a whole different thing with my son, so I feel as if I am learning everything all over again. 

In the end we can only hope that all goes well, that they don’t get involved in the wrong crowd, they don’t end up at the wrong place at the wrong time, and they make the better choices. Spending time doing what they are interested in, talking about the big issues, and staying connected have helped so far in my adventures in parenting. I am far from perfect, there are many things I have wished I did differently, but all in all I feel confidant that my children will stay away from the big problems, like drugs, alcohol, and gangs to name a few.

Happy teens still willing to hang with Mom once in a while!


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