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Advice for people who don't have teens yet


PhotoGal

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I'm going to give a bit of advice I wish I would have heard before my oldest was a teen (others, please add to the list!):

 

1) Set up your house rules now the way you want them.

 

For example, we set up the rule that the computer was only used in public areas of the house (not in bedrooms).  I am SO glad we set up this rule before our oldest became a teen. A new rule would not go over well right now.

 

 

2)  Enjoy your family traditions now.

 

You may be able to keep them up when your kid is a teen, but maybe not (they may not want to participate).

 

 

3) Be prepared for your child to change in ways you never expected, even if they have been a certain way all their lives up until then. And they won't remember they were ever like the way they were. :)  Don't hold too tightly to your vision of their future. Things can change quickly.

 

 

4) Take plenty of photos before middle school, because they may not let you take them anymore...

 

 

Of course, every child is different, but that's a start for me. Anyone else want to add some more?

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this was something of which I was recently reminded.

 

listen to your children as they talk to you about their problems and concerns.  now, while they are little - and those problems and concerns are often not of consequence.  they matter to them.  if they learn now, when they're young, that you'll listen to them and treat them as though what they say matters - they will be much more likely to come to you when it  really does matter and the problems are a much bigger deal.

and just because they only said it once - doesn't mean it's not a huge deal.

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Good relationships are established and nourished through the early years. When life gets rough for teens (and parents) due to so many changes in their brains and bodies, you have at least the basis of a relationship rooted in unconditional love, support and care. Teens may scoff at love support and care but crave it even while they deny it matters to them at all.

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Don't let the frustrations blind you.

Don't underestimate them.

Give them room to learn from mistakes.

Let them know how wonderful they are!

 

My teens drive me BANANAS!  95% of the time it's over stupid stuff.  When I look past that and see what actually matters, the three of them are incredible human beings.  If I were a teen or they were adults, I would very much want to be their friend.

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Don't have too many rules. Most of the ones you do have should be more for you (the parents) than for the teens.

 

Much more important than hard-and-fast rules are love,  patience, perspective and sense of humor.

 

Be flexible and allow them to grow. 

 

Let them make their own decisions. The early teen years are the time to really learn independence, not when they're 18 and headed out the door to college, the military or the full time working world.

 

Remember to enjoy. The teenagers years were the best and easiest parenting time for us. Way easier than the baby/toddler/preschool years. Instead of dreading the time be prepared to enjoy.

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Send some 1:1 time with them. Running errands and a special treat out can go a long ways.

 

One friend of mine would have her teens do the driving once they were old enough as then they couldn't be on their phones or electronics and often they would really open up and start talking.

 

Collect electronics at night and have them charge in your bedroom. Promotes healthy sleep habits and avoids a lot of temptations of inappropriate things.

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Always protect the relationship you have with your kids. Don't win the battles at the risk of losing the war.

 

Never stop being your kid's biggest cheerleader.

 

The teenage years do NOT automatically mean drama, fights, unhappiness, and distance between you--that is a lie, and your parenting may be what needs adjusting instead of your kid.

 

The younger years are amazing and the best but in their own way. The teen years are amazing too, and I wouldn't trade them for anything!

 

 

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Know that you'll have to step out of the parent role and into the mentor role more often as they get older.  That seems obvious, but honestly, it's a slow transition and not an overnight thing. 

 

DH and I were talking about all the things we were given responsibility for in our teens during school: directing a play (including designing the sets, setting up rehearsals and the like), yearbook, animal care, leadership of teams...these situations were valuable for us in developing who we are.  We needed that time to make mistakes, own them, but know we had an adult gently guiding us along.  I think we have a tendency to take these opportunities from our kids and take over more than we should - directing exactly what should be done and time expectations instead of standing as a sounding board and asking them the questions.  It takes a conscious effort to take that step back so they can stumble forward.

 

 

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Always protect the relationship you have with your kids. Don't win the battles at the risk of losing the war.

 

Never stop being your kid's biggest cheerleader.

 

The teenage years do NOT automatically mean drama, fights, unhappiness, and distance between you--that is a lie, and your parenting may be what needs adjusting instead of your kid.

 

The younger years are amazing and the best but in their own way. The teen years are amazing too, and I wouldn't trade them for anything!

THIS x 1000

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Meet them where they are. Always be willing to listen.

 

One of mine is a sports nut. I like sports a little bit, but it's wee compared to this child. I try not to let my eyes glaze over when I hear which players' contracts are going to expire in 2018 and who "our" teams should trade for. Why? Because this child is talking to me. I will gladly listen to the sports talk and I try to throw in some comments that sound intelligent. ;)

 

When First Born went off to school and was having boy issues, we FaceTimed from ~1am-2am one night. The next morning DH said it was ridiculous that she did that and that I needed my rest. I replied, "Are you kidding me? She's talking to us about serious stuff. You'd better believe I'll talk to her till 2am!" 

 

A neat lady I cyber-know once said that parenting teens is sort of like being a butler. You're aware of everything, but reveal nothing. Be prepared to "serve" but don't draw attention to yourself. She was talking about when her teens have teen friends over. I've added "Only speak when spoken to", lol, but that's not always the case. Still, there is some wisdom there.

 

Love these ideas. 

 

 

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Say yes as often as possible.

 

Talk with them, but more importantly, listen when they talk.

 

Hug them and tell them you love them.

 

Remember they'll make boneheaded mistakes, both big and small, but they're not doing it on purpose any more than you make mistakes on purpose.

 

Along that line, remember they aren't grown yet. They can seem ready to move out and take on the world one minute, and the next minute they can have you wondering how they'll ever survive without you.

 

Laugh. Smile. Enjoy them.

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These are fantastic. I have a young teen and I always so appreciate these kind of positive threads.

 

I don’t have any advice to add but will add another voice for people with younger kids who might be reading...so far having a teen has been really fun. Not always. But for the most part I think my teen is such a great person and love hanging out with him.

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From me the practical advice is to teach them money management skills when they are young. Let them experience things like buyer's remorse and saving to buy a larger item while they are buying $5 items. Walk them through the process with patience. I can't count the number of times I stood in the toy aisle and counseled ds about spending $3-5 on Hot Wheels or whatever. We would discuss how a certain car might enhance his collection, or how to figure tax, or remind him that if he waited and saved the money he might be able to buy that Lego set he wanted. 

 

How you go about getting them money will be different for each family. We opted to pay for chores - things above normal pick up after yourself things - because it fit best with our parenting principles. 

 

Part of it is his personality, but today ds at 20 manages his money well, much better than I ever did in my 20s. He still keeps a list of things he wants to buy, then when he has money, he refers to the list. 

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The best advice we were given when our kids was little kind of matches what the OP said in her 1st one; too often we consider parenting and rules as a pyramid, with not a lot of rules at the beginning when kids are small, and tightening the reigns as they get older. That's the opposite of how it should be, though; as they grow up they need more freedom, not less, as they learn how to be adults. 

 

If you think of it like that inverse pyramid, then, and guide them along the way but granting more & more freedom as they get older, it goes a long way to better functioning young adults when the time comes. 

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If you’re thinking that you have until they’re 18 before they leave the house and you don’t see them as much, it’s more like 15/16. Ds is gone a lot now doing various activities and spending time with different friends. Some weeks, we barely see him.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Wonderful thread! I'll add two that I was reminded of last night. The first I have a HARD time with, the second not so much...usually. 

 

1) Do. Not. Engage! Often, it's best to just let them vent and get their words out and go on doing what you're doing. Most things blow over much quicker that way. I've always been very much a "watch your tone with me" kind of parent, but I've found that--just so many wise moms here have counseled--sometimes you just need to let the little storm go by without turning into a hurricane.

 

2) Don't take stuff personally. I was really miffed at something my oldest said to me last night, but I managed to keep my mouth shut and keep doing laundry. As I was folding clothes, I realized that first, she was kind of right, and second, she was really upset about something else, not at me. By the time I came back out of the laundry room, everything was OK.

 

I remember things like that happening as a teenager. Now my mom and I have a wonderful relationship, so the difficulties now are not a harbinger of their entire adulthood. The teenage years are just a temporary insanity, and if, as someone said above, you can protect the relationship, it should weather all the frustrations of their teens.

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Try to be flexible and allow last-minute changes in plans. I am a creature of habit so this has been hard for me but it seems that DD and friends NEVER plan more than 48 hrs in advance. Along the same lines of saying yes as much as you can, this means driving DD to a friend's house or the mall when I'd planned to hibernate at home with a romance novel and a mug of cider.

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I have 4 teenage boys for one more day (oldest turns 20 tomorrow), and I would add that sometimes your kids need you to be a "listener" and not a mom. Moms sometimes freak out if they hear their kids or their friends are doing certain things, going certain places, etc. But "listeners" just calmly listen to what their teen is saying, absorbing the information, and then ask a few clarifying questions.

 

I know that when my kids come and ask me to be a listener, they are going to tell me something that I may not want to hear, but is really important and I am so glad I did hear.

 

Another thing we do in our family is my kids will put their arm on my shoulder and say, "this is important to me." That is our signal that what they are asking is a big deal to them and I need to really consider it and not just blow it off as a crazy idea. They don't do it very often, so when they do, I know I need to pay close attention.

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Listen to their music in the car. Be interested in their opinions and talk to them like you value their company.

 

Have their back in conflicts but don’t rush in to fix problems or interfere. Ask them if they want you to email a teacher or coach before you do it.

 

Teens are generally awesome people, but they will save their awesomeness for friends if you don’t work really hard at being a partner/mentor and really work hard at resisting the temptation to parent them like large toddlers. When they act like that, take a deep breath and count to ten before you talk.

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Don't quit too early.

 

Just because your teen can keep up with their schedule, drive, and seem to be responsibly, it doesn't mean that your job is done. They still need intense parenting. This is not the same as micromanaging their lives. What they need a lot of is listening, bouncing ideas around, and helping with perspective.

 

Beware of the tendency to "overparent" the oldest teen, driving them up the wall, and yet, not giving the younger ones enough of you a few years later because you feel that your job is done.

 

Remember that emotional maturity and responsibility are two different things. My daughter was very responsible in her early years but emotionally somewhat immature for a long time. Just because a kid "seems" more mature, some stages just have to be lived through for maturing to occur. So be patient when nudging the kid toward adultish things. The responsible kid who seems mature may not be ready to take classes on the college campus at 15 or 16.  (I wish my parents had realized this.)

 

In large families, make sure you are not putting too much responsibility on the older kids. Allow them time to enjoy being young without as many responsibilities. (I'm not advocating allowing them to be selfish, but they should be able to volunteer, enjoy time with friends and work a job without feeling that they are letting their family of origin down.) 

 

This could be discouraging to those in the trenches with toddlers but I wish someone had told me this so the letdown and frustrations would not be as great when we got to the teen years---Teens need as much of you, if not more, than your toddlers and infants do. It's a different kind of need. They need you to listen, talk, and laugh together. They need you to take interest in their friends and interests. They need you to schedule family fun together (even if they balk about it). They need you to initiate a new kind of relationship with them. This can be emotionally draining. I'm an introvert and it drives me batty to always have someone chatting at me. But I grit my teeth and smile and interest myself in my kids because they need me desperately.

 

Help your teens see you as a person with feelings and needs too. We started this when my dd was 16 and we took an introvert/extrovert test. I was like a 25 on the extroversion chart and she was a 97 or something like that. So I would give and give and give and then  I would say something like " I'm feeling very 25 right now. I know you're a 97 so please can you call your friend or something and let me be a 25 for a bit?" That gave her a scale to appreciate my needs as much as her needs. 

 

Be flexible with chores and such. I try to assign my working/college student chores that are not time sensitive as much as possible. I consult her when planning the week. (Which day works best for you to help with x,y, and z?) This is just being considerate. 

 

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Also, your kids will need you to direct them on seemingly obvious stuff.

 

I took some time in the early teen years after some big issues to directly talk about the following things:

 

1. Before you ask for moms permission to do something you will need the following information: Where you are going? Who is driving? What will be happening there? How long will it take? When will you be home? I refused to give permission for open ended vague things. (this is generally for teens in the 14-17 age range)

 

2. If plans change, call and talk to mom. But if it's a huge change in plan, mom is probably not going to go for it. I hate last minute changes, particularly if it involves me moving my own schedule drastically around. I also hate being put on the spot with a large group of teens to be the "bad guy." (i.e. My mom won't drop everything to suddenly pick the whole group up from the park and take us to the movies. What a jerk!) Also closely related, don't volunteer or give the impression of volunteering mom for stuff. (I bet my mom will do that!)

 

3. I also talk to my kids about guest etiquette. (In general in our area, hanging out at people's homes except for those you know really well, should not last for longer than 3 hours. Also, in our area, its a good rule of thumb to not be at someone's house after about 9 or 9:30 pm) My daughter loved that I gave her specific guidelines. She had a hard time figuring out whether she was overstaying her welcome at someone's house, so a general guideline was appreciated. We've ended up with teens just hanging out and NOT GOING AWAY even when we were done with a visit, and she doesn't want to be THAT person.

Edited by fairfarmhand
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This could be discouraging to those in the trenches with toddlers but I wish someone had told me this so the letdown and frustrations would not be as great when we got to the teen years---Teens need as much of you, if not more, than your toddlers and infants do. It's a different kind of need. They need you to listen, talk, and laugh together. They need you to take interest in their friends and interests. They need you to schedule family fun together (even if they balk about it). They need you to initiate a new kind of relationship with them. This can be emotionally draining. I'm an introvert and it drives me batty to always have someone chatting at me. But I grit my teeth and smile and interest myself in my kids because they need me desperately.

 

 

I wanted to highlight this because I too expected life to start getting a little easier and the parenting a little less intense as my oldest moved into her teen years, and it took me awhile to adjust to the idea that it was not going to happen--at least, not yet, and not for that kid. My youngest is much more independent, so maybe things will be different with her. But my oldest did, and still does, need me much more than I expected her to. 

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Agreeing with so many awesome posts here.  The biggest thing mentioned so far, though, for me is the following...

 

Establish a solid, positive, supportive relationship while your children are little.  Listen NOW.  Smile NOW.  Make eye contact and PAY ATTENTION NOW.  And don't feel obligated to give constant feedback, either.  Just let them share.  They need to know that the things that matter to them matter to you (regardless of how trivial seeming those things are when they are small.)  By the time they hit the teen years you want them to know at the most basic level of their psyche that you do really care, and their issues and triumphs and joys and frustrations really matter to you, too, as a separate thing from who you are.  

 

If they try to share about how awesome that bug is in the garden and you tune them out, push them aside, interrupt, you are sending them the message that they, as individuals, don't matter.  That only your interests matter.  If you ignore them more often than you actually pay attention they notice even if they aren't conscious of it.  They internalize that.  And by the time they hit the teen years they no longer have any interest in engaging with you.  It's hard to get that level of trust back if it was never really established to begin with and in the teen years they are navigating a lot of things.  They NEED you, more than ever (but as others have pointed out, in a different way).  This doesn't mean that they will pour out their heart and soul on a regular basis as a teen.  Listening to teens can be challenging in a different way.  They may only share at rare moments.  Seize those moments.  If they start talking, listen.  Listen hard.  And don't try to micromanage.  They may not be actively seeking solutions.  They may just need someone who loves them unconditionally to listen.  Be unconditional in your listening.

 

And don't emotionally blackmail your children.  Meaning please don't tie their poor choices to some sort of attack on you personally.  It isn't.  Or at least it usually isn't.  Don't pull the "If you loved me you would have...." card.  That is damaging to both of you.  They are going to make mistakes.  Disassociate yourself from the emotional equation.  They don't need your emotional baggage dragging them down.

 

And try really, really hard to find the joy in your children.  They got muddy right before Church?  Well, take a few photos and realize it will make a great story for the grandkids.  Mud washes off, stains are just the story book of life, etc.

 

ETA:  Also, I'm not saying let your teens or young children run amok or never tell them you don't have time to listen.  They also need boundaries and to know that your needs matter as well.  Just keep in mind that you may be turning them away more often than you are listening.  It is easy in the moment to let daily needs that seem important in the moment take precedence over things that might not be as obvious or immediately pressing but are actually far more important in the long run, if that makes sense.

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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Also, my boys seem to talk best when it's dark and we're not looking at each other. So that usually involves either late-night drives or me sitting on the floor of their bedroom at night with the lights off. I am not a night person at all, so I have to push myself, but some of our very best talks have been very late at night (or early a.m.)

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Also, don't take it personally when your teens don't appreciate what they have.

 

We've gotten into the "I would have loved....when I was a teen. What's wrong with these selfish kids?"

 

In realty, their experiences growing up are the only frame of reference that they have. So if they seem to be complaining and ungrateful, they're just being immature, and showing their limited life experiences. 

 

on a similar note, before investing in a large, expensive gift or hobby for your kids, make sure they are 100 percent interested over a long period of time. (This is why we have 2 horses in the field that are never ridden, versus the piano that is played several times a week when kid expressed interest for 2 years before we took the plunge) Make sure that it's THEIR idea, not yours or your own childhood wishes being replayed. 

 

Don't resent the time and money invested when a kid outgrows an interest. They will change more than you ever imagined and that's totally normal.

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Also, my boys seem to talk best when it's dark and we're not looking at each other. So that usually involves either late-night drives or me sitting on the floor of their bedroom at night with the lights off. I am not a night person at all, so I have to push myself, but some of our very best talks have been very late at night (or early a.m.)

This was going to be my advice as well.....my teens seem to love to talk in the car or after 11 pm. I am a night owl, so it’s fine with me, but we’ve had so many great discussions at night.

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Also, my boys seem to talk best when it's dark and we're not looking at each other. So that usually involves either late-night drives or me sitting on the floor of their bedroom at night with the lights off. I am not a night person at all, so I have to push myself, but some of our very best talks have been very late at night (or early a.m.)

 

This was going to be my advice as well.....my teens seem to love to talk in the car or after 11 pm. I am a night owl, so it’s fine with me, but we’ve had so many great discussions at night.

 

 

Here as well. Some serious stuff is going on with my DD, both personally and among her friend group, and we're mostly hashing it out on long, rambling car rides. 

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Where we live, driving age is 18 years old and many don't even drive then due to lack of an extra family car, no jobs, etc. So teen years here have required a lot of driving on our part to get them where they need to go. Sports practices, games, church, youth night, activities with friends. All good stuff, but not things we are actively involved in with them in except for watching games from the sidelines. So I miss our Friday night pizza and movie nights, doing family things every Saturday, and things like that because they have their own commitments. Date nights are difficult to find time for as well because we are often going in two different directions. We still do things as a family, but it is harder to find the opportunities and there is a certain feeling that time is running out.

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I'll add that DO be the volunteer mom--be the one that does costumes at the musical, drives to swim meets, takes photos of the team, etc. You'll learn a lot about your kids and their friends if you're around. Don't hover, but BE there. 

Yeah, that's really helped the relationship with my teens. it helps that their friends like me. 

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I was just telling my fiends with other day that I wish someone had told me that the more capable my kids would get, the less they’d want to help out. In other words, don’t count on the fact that your kids will be helping you out more when they have more skills, because they will have less time and self motivation to help out as much as you think they will.

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Copying this from my signature, because it's either the 4th or 5th time written on here, but it's incredibly important:

 

If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when [your children] are little, they won't tell you the big stuff

when they are big, because to them, all of it has always been big stuff." - Catherine M Wallace

 

Then agreeing with the fact that you are becoming the mentor, not the boss, so get used to the job change.  It's OK if they have different ideas about how to do things, what they like/don't, and what they want to do in life.  Our kids are individuals, not mini-versions of us.

 

Most kids like to know they are valuable within the family.  This means they want something to do.  That something might not be housecleaning, but if you have something real for them to do, let them do it and don't nitpick how well it was done (or how it was done).

 

Like adults, kids have different love languages.  If you don't know what those are, do a quick google search.  Everyone naturally speaks their own.  One often needs to learn how to speak the others.  It's worth it to learn how to speak our kids' (and our spouse's).

 

I hear from teens every single day I'm at work.  Most want to please their parents (or guardians).  Too many don't get positive feedback.  All they hear are complaints ("You didn't do this!" - or "do it right").  Don't make that all they remember about you.  Quit sweating the small stuff.  Most kids will turn out ok.  They want you on their side, but will pull away if they don't feel the love. (There's that love language and listening thing again.)  They will pull away if you keep treating them like younger kids.

 

And on the other side... be wary of drugs.  Those happen - any family.  Usually it's from "friends" or pure curiosity.  Trying to overparent won't stop it, it will just make most kids sneaky.  Gaining trust and a close relationship seems to be the best way (not foolproof, but best) for prevention.  Then just keep an eye out knowing it's out there.

 

 

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Remember they are their own people with their own opinions and will make their own choices. Even if we know our choices would be better!

 

We give ours enough rope not to hang themselves but to get a bit tangled up. How else will they learn to get untangled themselves?

 

I took heart in every lesson learned through the teen years even if some came with some pain.

 

You cannot win every battle. I was very authoritarian with my little kids but eased up through the teen years and saved it for the big stuff. They needed to respect that my limits were for their safety and not just to control them.

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My kids are 12 and 15, so I do have a teenager. However, I'm not sure I can give advice until they're both in college. :). Who knows what is yet to come?

 

All I know is that right now, I love, love, love being with them. The teen years have been great so far.

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We had the "computers in public areas only" rule, but we did have other screen issues. I would consider carefully the rules you want for things like phones, Nintendo DS's, tablets etc... if you have them. Also, consider things like Netflix carefully (because they can get these on all devices, and once they know that, you can easily have everyone in separate rooms watching their own things and poof goes the family dynamic of watching things together). Don't just think about how to avoid having your kids find bad stuff online (which they will, either on purpose or accidentally stumble across), but think about things like the family dynamic and screens affecting sleep, even though you can't imagine that now. I knew a family that had everyone turn in all screens at a set time (I think it was either 9 or 10 pm)--great idea to get kids off screens & doing something like reading before bedtime (screens before bed disturbs brain waves and quality of sleep). I wished I had established that habit, but it just never occurred to me until it became an issue and was fairly entrenched. It's easier to put a boundary in place now than to take away a freedom later. 

 

Build bridges rather than getting drawn into power struggles--find ways to connect one on one ("date" your teens), listen to what they are interested in (even if you aren't), remember it's all important to them, take time to connect--walk alongside. Let them fail sometimes--we learn a lot through our failures. Let them know you're always there for them.

 

Have fun and love your teens--these really are great years!

Edited by MerryAtHope
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So this..

3) Be prepared for your child to change in ways you never expected, even if they have been a certain way all their lives up until then. And they won't remember they were ever like the way they were. :)  Don't hold too tightly to your vision of their future. Things can change quickly.

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Be prepared and dont be afraid to be the parent. Your teen has friends they need parents.

 

Don't grill them with questions.

 

Sometimes you just need to just listen and not say anything just let them talk and its okay to not give them words of wisdom in everything they need to talk about.

Edited by lynn
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My kids are 16 and soon to be 14, so I’m still learning. My advice would be:

 

How you parent changes. When they are little you make decisions for them, but as they grow the responsibility shifts. It transfers from me being in charge to teaching my children how to be accountable and responsible for their own lives.

 

With the above comes failure and life lessons. It’s okay to let them fail and experience natural consequences. It is much better for a child, tween, or teenager to learn from their mistakes then to be shielded by their parents. It is a disservice to them as they enter adulthood if you always buffer their fails in life. But love them and support them through every failure. Don’t have an, “I told you so†attitude.

 

Be willing to share your own failures and life lessons.

 

Don’t let friends replace family. Make sure that quality family fun is part of your schedule.

 

Build relationships with your childrenâ€s friends and their parents

 

During disagreements, talk WITH your children, not at them. Include them in the conversation and allow them freedom to openly share, give their point of view, explain why they think you’re wrong, etc. The process of learning respectful conflict is really an art that only occurs through modeling and it’s important for healthy adults to know. This really starts at a young age and carries into the teen years.

 

I’m sure there are more things I’m learning as I navigate through this, but the biggest one is to simply enjoy them. They are a precious gift and the years are going much faster than I like. I really just try to stay interested in who they are and keep my relationship with them a priority.

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Also, my boys seem to talk best when it's dark and we're not looking at each other. So that usually involves either late-night drives or me sitting on the floor of their bedroom at night with the lights off. I am not a night person at all, so I have to push myself, but some of our very best talks have been very late at night (or early a.m.)

 

This, so much this.  I don't know why, but it is true for us.

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I had two who were super easy teenagers, and a third who is 17 making up for it. My fourth is 16 and seems to be the most on par with his peers - that is to say, "normal" whereas the other three apparently were at either extreme of their peers. 

 

I wish someone had told me sooner that "it" wasn't personal.

 

I've taken it to heart how difficult my third son is, and it DOES feel personal. He's always been challenging; maybe it's the hormones or the man size that makes it so much harder to deal with now. I've had friends share that 17 is the brunt of it, in their experience. To see their sons now (in their 20s) I'd have never guessed that they went through the storm that I'm going through now with this son. It brings me hope. I cling to it fiercely. 

 

More advice, depending on how old you were when you had your kids: hormones. Theirs, yours, everyone is in this flurry of hormones. And just trying to make it through each day can be hard ... even harder when you're butting up against someone else going through the same thing. I was pregnant last year and am in a post-partum mess. With my upcoming teenager I'll be peri- or full on menopausal. It helps me to remember what those surges of uncontrolled hormones feels like - it messes with my brain, my emotions, everything. And to give the kids the same benefit of the doubt. (That takes work on my part, but it helps me to see it as partially medical and not just defiance and disrespect.)

 

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When First Born went off to school and was having boy issues, we FaceTimed from ~1am-2am one night. The next morning DH said it was ridiculous that she did that and that I needed my rest. I replied, "Are you kidding me? She's talking to us about serious stuff. You'd better believe I'll talk to her till 2am!" 

 

I've had this same conversation with my DH.  DD is a freshman at college, away from home.  She is also in a serious relationship, and the boy has been away at boot camp.  She texts and contacts me often. OFTEN.  DH suggested to me she should "tone it down".

 

I know without a doubt, that when boyfriend is back, it WILL tone down.  She has already begun the process of transferring her support group over to friends and to her serious boyfriend, probably soon to be fiance.  For the last few months/days she needs me... hell yeah I'm going to be here!  Dinnertime, middle of the night, whenever!

 

This is a season, like any other in raising a child.  Give them whatever they need right now, it won't be long before they don't need or want it any more.

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Here is something my DH said.  He always knew there would be a time when he had to let go, when he wasn't "in control" anymore and DD was going to make her own decisions.  He said that time just sneaks up on you though, earlier than you thought.  And when it comes, there is no going back, or saying, wait, this was too soon.  So when the time comes, accept it and work with it, not against it.

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I've had this same conversation with my DH.  DD is a freshman at college, away from home.  She is also in a serious relationship, and the boy has been away at boot camp.  She texts and contacts me often. OFTEN.  DH suggested to me she should "tone it down".

 

I know without a doubt, that when boyfriend is back, it WILL tone down.  She has already begun the process of transferring her support group over to friends and to her serious boyfriend, probably soon to be fiance.  For the last few months/days she needs me... hell yeah I'm going to be here!  Dinnertime, middle of the night, whenever!

 

This is a season, like any other in raising a child.  Give them whatever they need right now, it won't be long before they don't need or want it any more.

 

You are my people!

 

Goldberry, you and I have a couple of things in common. Our correct belief in being their for our children at all times of the day and night, and we both have Moxie quotes in our signatures.  :lol:

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This thread is awesome, and everyone else has already said everything I have to say except...

 

 

.... invest in becoming friends with your kids' friends'  parents.  It pays off in a thousand ways, not the least of which is, when they finally fledge the nest... you still have people to go to the movies with.

Edited by Pam in CT
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