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Can we talk parenting young teens?

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My oldest turned 13 this summer. While everything is good, I feel like I don’t know what I am doing at this stage. He is attending public school (8th grade) for the first time, and that is part of what is throwing me off. 

Mostly I am wondering how much freedom do you give kids this age? In the little day to day things like what time to go to bed, how much screen time, spending time with family, getting exercise, etc. And also the bigger things like which classes to choose for high school. 

I am interested in any tips for the 11-15yr old crowd. I feel like I have age 10 and under down, but this tween/young teen age I am not as comfortable with. 

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I'm a year behind you, my oldest turned 12 this summer. 

At this point, his day is still pretty structured.  He's got school (7th grade at our parish school), and activities like choir, or scouts, or baseball, pretty much every day after school, and I have an expectation that he'll be home for dinner, finish his homework before any screens, and go to bed at a certain time.  So, that doesn't leave a huge amount of time on the weekdays.  On the weekends, he's got more time, but still some expectations, like church, and dinner with DH's family on Sunday.  

How much input he'll have in our decision about where he goes for high school is a question on my mind.  Finances may make that decision easy though.  

But he's definitely my easiest of my 3 kids.  I imagine that when my youngest is 12, I'll find all these questions harder to answer.  

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There is a WIDE range of what goes down in my publically schooled 8th grader’s friend circle.

I keep a tighter leash than most and I make no apologies about it. I saw what went down with older ds’s peers and while I trust my Ds, I have my eyes open.

As Ds came home and told me recently (over a stack of cookies fresh from the oven), “I am pretty sure some of my classmates will be pregnant or in jail before we graduate.” 

Bedtime: strict in the room and quiet at 8pm, lights out at 9. (We are all up by 6, and he NEEDS the sleep.) On non school nights, no bedtime.

Screentime: he has no smart phone, and is limited to a few hours of wii/tv/laptop surfing. I don’t restrict this tightly except when it comes to sleep hygiene. The no smart phone is very purposeful. 

Time with family: yes, I do have some minimums. We do family calendaring on Sundays and we consciously block some weekends for family time in addition to weeknights.

Class choice: I pick math and science (with their input) and require a 4x4 schedule (4 math, science, English, social studies) + 2 years of one foreign language + 1 fine arts + 1 PE. It’s the basic lineup for college apps. I did the same with Oldest who was homeschooled. Beyond that, it’s their choice.

 

 

 

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Right there with ya. I have a 14 and a 12 year old...

Bedtime, well, I enforce a quiet house time. She is free to read/draw/whatever quietly in her own room. This may be different if we didn't have younger siblings in close quarters.

Screen time, we are pretty strict. She doesn't have her own phone or anything. She uses a tablet/computer with permission. She chats to her friends using apps on my phone. We are on the more strict end of this spectrum and I'm happy with that. Eta - we are less strict with tv and movies etc but, with our family/home set up, this is usually more of a family together thing rather than an individual thing. Unless she wants to watch something that the littles can't and I'll facilitate that sometimes (for example, currently she watches a few episodes of Stranger Things on her own each week - dh and I vetted it first - but 3hrs a week doesn't overtake the other 7hrs with family, if that makes sense)

Spending time with family is something we prioritize. Also downtime. Homeschool means this is much easier to balance for us.

Class choices, again, homeschooling, but I'm pretty open to letting her choose with the caveat that she actually puts in the work. If she doesn't put in the effort of owning and being responsible for her education beyond just picking what looks fun, then it shows she's not actually at that level of responsibility yet and I'll step back in and make certain choices for her. This is something that's taken a bit of back and forthing over the past year. We talk a lot about where she wants to head and what choices to make now wrt that. But at only 14 I feel like she still has time. My 12 year old is still not independent with school choices yet, but we'll move more in that direction over the next year.

Edited by LMD
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I still make many decisions for my 13 year old. He can somewhat choose bed time as long as he gets up in the morning without fussing. He chooses whether or not he wants to take band at the school. I make him do Latin even though he dislikes it. He wants a smartphone, but he isn't getting one for awhile. When he does, it won't have data on it for another good bit. He can have some screen time in the evenings or on weekends, but he asks before he does and gets off if I feel it is too much. That being said, I try to say yes when he asks to do something.

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It's been a few years since that age in our house, but for some of your questions:

There is more freedom.  For some things, I would tell him what I need, he'd decide on details within set parameters. 
Bedtime - no longer micro managed.  I kick children out of the living room at 8pm.  No electronics in the bedrooms until age 16-17, when preparing for college and there's more classes taken on and a willing understanding of internet safety and rules.  But I'm not going to determine what goes on in his room after 8pm.  He can stay up all night if he wanted, and he did a few times before realizing he'd hurt the next day.

Exercise is crucial.  For my oldest that came in the form of long bike rides and scouting.  However, we've always had family dinner at 6. He can miss or not due to other activities, but we would try to schedule plans around that and schedule a family activity on non-scouting weekends.

Electronics - we gave our kid a smart phone when he graduated high school (he had a basic phone starting at age 12).  When he was 15ish he got a laptop to use for school, and when he was 12 we gave him an ipod.  We always had access to it and the laptop/ipod had a home in the living room.  In fact, we also set up our house so the wi-fi doesn't reach to the far bedrooms, so it's harder to bring electronics in there.

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I let my kids choose their bed time.  Of course there are guidelines about noise, lights being turned off etc.  They all did good.  Let them know your expectations. Is dinner time important to you, do you need him home on a certain Saturday to help with yardwork?  Can he earn a later curfew?   I explained to my boys that trust can be easily broken but takes a while to earn back.  They all did stupid things but they are all self supporting hardworking young men.

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I have two 8th graders and a 9th grader (plus a senior). My comments are about the younger teens.

They have Iphones now, though I was reluctant, and they have only had them since Christmas, which was partway through 7th and 8th grades. The turning point for me was our school's 8th grade Washington DC trip; I didn't want my son to be away from us for days without a way to contact us at home, and also the chaperones used texting to communicate with the kids. Also, I was tired of letting the three younger kids borrow my phone all of the time to contact their friends.

We believe in supervising their phone use and social media, but I admit that I still stumble on this and don't have a great system down, so my checks tend to be haphazard. I need to figure out a better system. We have screen time blocked on their phones overnight, and they have to turn their phones in to us before going to bed. We keep them in our room, so that no one can be tempted to fetch them in the middle of the night (we had some trouble with this previously; some kids may not be tempted).  Their school Chromebooks are also plugged in in our room at night.

When DD17 was their age, she was always up late doing homework, because she was in ballet class for hours in the afternoons and evenings, and she had no other option. But the three younger kids do still get ready for bed around 8:30. It takes some of them awhile to get ready, and we have a routine to follow, which we still supervise (only because some of my kids need it), and which includes picking out their clothes for the next day.

They don't have autonomy in these areas yet, because they are not ready. DD17 needed less oversight, so she had some more freedom, but I will say that sometimes we have regretted that, particularly when related to social media, as she has experienced some bumps in the road that took us by surprise.

Generally, we feel we tend to be on the stricter side, but I try to be flexible. I have, for example, allowed my 8th graders this year to sometimes walk afterschool to nearby fast food places with friends instead of riding the bus home, even though I have some reservations about that.

It's been a balancing act. I am stricter on some things than my kids would like. I am not as good at overseeing the social media things as I think I should be. There are things I think I should have been on top of more with DD17, and I would like to do better with the younger ones, but I'm not sure that I am, yet.

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It’s ok for you to be strict on some stuff if your kid isn’t ready for some freedoms. My 14 yo is excellent at managing an iPad so far. She also does ok at going to bed at a decent time. My oldest wasn’t like that at all. And yes I was a stickler about bed with her too because she just couldn’t handle the freedom and wouldn’t get things done because of being too tired. Also older kid was very inconsiderate about waking others in the night. 

So each family is different, and each kid is different.

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Now that I've had coffee, I think the tween years are a shift from direct parenting to guidance counselor/community director, if that makes sense.  These are the years we put more emphasis on learning how to be an active part of a community and what that looks like in terms of safety, commitment, and responsibility.  It's things like:

-we want to know where our kids are, what time to expect them home, and who they are with.  Not because we're overly into their business, but because these are good safety practices for adults.  Our 20yo went off by himself this weekend to a major city.  You can bet he made sure we had the address of where he was staying, what his itinerary was, and he talked to us daily so we knew he was still alive. 😄 It's just common sense.
-we want our kids to take on a share of the responsibility in the house: yardwork, dishes, etc. so that they start to understand daily tasks and upkeep of a home: how often to do certain things, what needs to be done to be proactive instead of reactive, and so forth.  We want them to understand how to use electronics responsibly and what that looks like.
-we want them to feel like they're a part of daily life here, that they have a commitment to the people around them no matter who they choose those people to be.  Scouting takes a commitment, but family does, too.  Connecting over dinner or an activity is important to us.

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I feel like lots of freedom and space... combined with tons of involvement and quality time with family/parents and explicit, ongoing conversations about all the "stuff" that's out there is the way to go. I do think they genuinely need to have more freedom and to be able to close their doors (note, not necessarily with their devices). They need to be able to make their own social plans with friends, get places on their own sometimes, choose their own activities, be moody when they're moody, be silly when they're silly... But it can't just be a hands off thing. I feel like you give them the freedom and space you can - you try to be a knee-jerk "yes" parent whenever possible - so that you can then have leverage for the things that really matter. And you figure out what those things are and you use it regularly.

For me, the explicit conversations thing is key too. So many parents I know wait until their kids are actually looking at p*rn, hanging out with kids smoking pot, drinking, sexually harassing or being sexually harassed at school/in social situations before they realize it's time to talk to them. They don't want to ruin their kids' innocence. But you can't ruin a neurotypical 13's innocence. Some are more sheltered than others, sure. But the risks of not having clear, direct conversations about this stuff far outweighs some supposed innocence of a child who is well into puberty and lives in America today where they're exposed to media images and other kids (even if that exposure is limited compared to others their age). And I'll add the other thing is for parents of white boys to talk to them about white supremacy because they're being actively targeted at this age by white supremacist groups online and sometimes from their peers who are picking it up online.

Where families have their specific lines is individual. And kids are individual. Some kids do fine with less limits on screens and devices and others need more monitoring. Some kids need more guidance about daily tasks and others are fine. It's a balance and an ongoing evolution. You have to be willing to grow your expectations and your comfort level.

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I experienced the same things last year when my ds went to public school for grade 9 for the first time. He really wanted to go, so he was super motivated to get up every morning, make his lunch, bike to school, etc. He was participating in class well, and his teachers were very supportive. However I felt like his academics and social interactions were like a black hole and it was hard on me to deal with the feeling of not knowing exactly what was going on. That was my schtick and not my ds's fault or behaviour at all. When you homeschool your dc, you are so used to knowing almost everything that they do. It was a challenge for me to figure out how to deal with these feelings.

 

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I have four kids and each one has needed a tweak in parenting.  They are just so different.  I had one that pushed boundaries, lied, and wasn't trustworthy and parenting that one was very different during that stage than the others.  I had another who wasn't ready to be a teen tbh, she wanted to stay young, she didn't want the freedoms or responsibilities and I had to help her grow into maturity by encouraging her to have freedoms/take risks.  I had another that was more responsible at 12 than most 20 year olds.  She earned a lot of freedom and continued to use it wisely.  My ten year old seems to be more tempered like the super mature one but hormones haven't kicked in so we are in the wait and see mode 😉 

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1 hour ago, wintermom said:

I experienced the same things last year when my ds went to public school for grade 9 for the first time. He really wanted to go, so he was super motivated to get up every morning, make his lunch, bike to school, etc. He was participating in class well, and his teachers were very supportive. However I felt like his academics and social interactions were like a black hole and it was hard on me to deal with the feeling of not knowing exactly what was going on. That was my schtick and not my ds's fault or behaviour at all. When you homeschool your dc, you are so used to knowing almost everything that they do. It was a challenge for me to figure out how to deal with these feelings.

 

Yes this is a big part of it. We had planned to send our kids to school in high school, but we moved this summer and he wanted to go ahead and go in 8th grade. It made sense for him, but it has been hard on me. I’m trying to work that out on my own because it doesn’t have anything to do with him. 

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He has always been a good kid and fairly easy to parent, but since he is my oldest, every new stage seems big and intimidating. Now that he is older, I definitely don’t want him to notice that I am nervous about teens or whatever. 

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We're past this stage, but one thing we found with all 5 of ours, was HARD work. As in getting sweaty type of work. Preferably work for someone else, not just sports. So, splitting wood, chopping ice, feeding cattle (not much sweat there as it was usually -30), hauling hay, shoveling snow (ds loved shoveling roofs for some reason), pounding nails, cleaning stalls, etc. The kids should be grateful to fall into bed at night, with tired muscles. 

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14 hours ago, lovinmyboys said:

My oldest turned 13 this summer. While everything is good, I feel like I don’t know what I am doing at this stage. He is attending public school (8th grade) for the first time, and that is part of what is throwing me off. 

Mostly I am wondering how much freedom do you give kids this age? In the little day to day things like what time to go to bed, how much screen time, spending time with family, getting exercise, etc. And also the bigger things like which classes to choose for high school. 

I am interested in any tips for the 11-15yr old crowd. I feel like I have age 10 and under down, but this tween/young teen age I am not as comfortable with. 

 

Give as much freedom as they can  handle responsibly.  Lights out is up to them, they should be tired enough from sports or weekend chores to go to bed at a time that gives them enough sleep to get up and get to school or weekend activities on time.  Screen time....what do you mean?  Entertainment, communication with peers?  Frankly  between a full class schedule with at home studying done and playing sports, there isn't much entertainment time on a screen - this is an era of lots of live peer interaction. The few kids texting inanely all night get shut down quickly. Classes for high school...that is so dependent on gc and school.  You as a parent need to make sure your child is placed correctly and you need to go to bat for him if not.  There is not a lot of choice for college prep.  There is a lot of choice if doing the lower level diploma that just has Alg and Geo and minimal science -- you need to insist on the classes you think will help his life goals. For me, a good high school education includes every class that is now considered college prep - 4 years of science, 4 years of math as there is no way they are going to navigate their medical and drive safely without that knowledge, and now is much easier and cheaper to acquire it than putting them in the popular option here, which is 2 study halls. 

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About high school classes...the schools here are very good, but they do encourage a study hall. He has to choose his classes soon because he is going to a brand new high school and they are trying to figure out staffing. I think he is very smart and capable, so want him taking challenging classes. On the other hand, I do like a study hall so he has more free time in the evenings. I want him to be challenged, but also not overloaded. 

He is going to do college prep-for sure the science, math, foreign language. I’m thinking for his freshman year I might encourage him to do some honors classes, but then have some easier ones too? 

I think it is good for kids this age to be productive/engaged, but one of the reasons I homeschooled was to give plenty of free time. I also enjoy spending time with him and with him and the whole family. I really am not ready for him to be busy from morning until bedtime, but I also want him prepared for adulthood. I think school and academics are important, but I also don’t want high school to be exclusively about getting into a good college. I want him to have a life outside of school too. 

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My girls will turn 13 next week & in January.  So I am new at this, and a lot of it is trial and error.

They change so fast at this age!  We are so different from where we were a year or even 6 months ago.

My kids go to b&m school and are pretty busy, though less busy than prior years. 

  • School work: 
    • I have told them that if they are getting an A in a subject, then i will let them be.  B or lower means I will stick my nose in - I want to check homework and maybe guide test study if I feel it's needed.  (I can live with a B in most subjects, but it can easily slip further if not monitored.) 
    • When I'm on my game, screens are off limits until their school work is done.  However, they often claim that they need the internet to do their school work.
    • Kid 2, who has exceptional academic ability, has to keep a 3.5 in order to keep her horse lease.
    • Electives & extracurriculars - we haven't had many class options yet.  I chose my own at their age, but I'm a bit more controlling than my mom.  I do insist that they do some music and some physical activity most days.  I would guide them to make choices that preserve their ability to get a meaningful college education.  But I would not push optional classes that are likely to be difficult to the point of frustration.
  • iPhone:
    • I started out letting them prove their responsibility - though I did put some very basic parental limits during phone setup.
    • I take the phones every night (so they will sleep) and I read all texts, check their photos/videos, call log, and try to see what internet they have been using.  I also randomly check during the day.  I am sure they have found ways around some of this, but at least they know to be careful.  I assure them their friends' moms check everything also.
    • Irresponsible behavior led to me limiting screen time and access to many things, and/or loss of the phone for some time.
    • Reading their phone stuff also enables me to coach them on some interpersonal stuff, such as how to be supportive of kids in trouble or not a jerk to kids who annoy.
    • I don't stop them from watching non-family-friendly videos etc, provided they are not x rated (we haven't had that yet).  They are bound to be exposed to things like this, so I might as well know about it.
    • I require them to have passwords that I know.  They aren't allowed to let others use their phones (but they do it anyway).
  • Computer-internet:  stays in my room overnight and when they are supposed to be doing [most] school work.  They are not allowed to have email addresses other than their school email.  They are not allowed to have social media (excl. texting) at this point.  (Not sure exactly when I will lift this restriction.  I think that for my kids anyway, 13 is too young for anything I can't monitor easily.)
  • Bedtime:  is more of a suggestion at this point.  I try to get them to go to bed by a reasonable hour, but they have so many excuses or they just putz.  Sometimes I will insist that they go to bed and I promise to wake them early to finish homework or shower.  Keeping their electronics overnight helps.  I also had to confiscate a book light.  😛
  • Bedrooms and bathroom:  Lord have mercy.  They are way too big for me to be their personal maid.  But I also can't force them to clean it themselves.  I just keep "reminding" about the basics that can be summarized as "we are not pigs."  And I do some of it myself because my sanity requires it.
  • Chores:  a teen needs to be able and willing to do each of the household duties at different times.  This is an area I will nag about when they aren't buried in school work.  While we are far from independent living, they have lots of time left for that.
  • Food:  this is honestly a difficult area for me.  We all like different kinds of foods, and one of my kids hardly likes anything, and getting her to eat what she doesn't like is a battle I quit fighting a long time ago.  Most days, it's every man for himself.  I provide a variety of easy options and they can have at it.  A bit of strategy is used to make veggies and fruits more attractive.  😛   I think this will resolve itself as they become young women - I know it did for me.
  • Spending money:  if it's theirs, they can do what they want with it.  If it's mine, they can't, LOL.  We don't do an allowance (though I think allowances are good), but they can do odd jobs for $$, and they get birthday money and some bribes.  😛
  • Attitude:  this really should have been first.  Currently we are at a stage where I call out every incident of baditude, and where it involves rudeness/disrespect, demand an apology.  This takes what feels like about 95% of my energy all the time.  I also give a lot of coaching e.g. "you need to make eye contact with the person you are speaking to."  I do feel like the worst is behind us (famous last words).
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I would just add that the biggest change has been the importance of friends.  They want to do everything and share everything with their friends.  There is some awkwardness, some unkindness, and some choices that go against self interest.  But also some nice things to see.  I think the hardest part of this is not knowing what's really going on when you're not there.  You think your kid is the nice one, the victim, the kid who "would never do that," until ... surprise!  The extent to which our kids' actions affect others is also a bit daunting.

And really all we can do is advise, advise, advise, and listen carefully and with an open mind.

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Following.  My girls are 11 and 13, and not to jinx myself, but so far this age has been easier than 8-10 -- that was rough. (But my girls were early bloomers and maybe the hormones hit them hard...)

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Okay, chocolate consumed and now I’m fortified for this 😒

So.  I am just entering this stage with my oldest two girls. And they both need different things from me.  
 

We do give a bit more freedom to pair with a bit more responsibility - like, they have chores and tasks I require in a timely fashion, but in their free time I try to say yes as much as I can. If they want to do perler beads I say yes, or paint, or bake something.  Whittle something, whatever.  When they are playing outside I’ve begun letting them choose if they want to ride bikes down to the park with their younger siblings for a bit, no additional supervision. 
 

We also are trying to let them follow their interests more, like picking an additional instrument or switching sports.  Learning programming, wood burning, what have you.  I’m finding that balances out their need for self definition and growth with some boundaries.  I’m still strict about hygiene and wake times and such, but I may also let them read a bit longer in the living room once siblings have gone to bed.  
 

I guess all that to say that I’m gradually increasing their personal freedom while still requiring daily structure and routine the rest of the family needs.  And they have responsibility, but they’re also gaining independence and range and I plan to continue expanding that as they show maturity.

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3 hours ago, lovinmyboys said:

He has always been a good kid and fairly easy to parent, but since he is my oldest, every new stage seems big and intimidating. Now that he is older, I definitely don’t want him to notice that I am nervous about teens or whatever. 

My dh has been excellent about stepping up the "parenting" as my boys get older. They need that male role-model. They respond better to a deeper pitched, male voice (and I continuously forget to speak with a deeper, calmer voice). He understands what it's like to be a teen boy. He gets their language, their slang, their physicality needs. 

As much as I love my 3 teen boys and want to stay involved in their lives, my role is definitely shifting as they age. I am still figuring out exactly what my more effective role is in their lives, though. 

Edited by wintermom
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3 hours ago, lovinmyboys said:

He has always been a good kid and fairly easy to parent, but since he is my oldest, every new stage seems big and intimidating. Now that he is older, I definitely don’t want him to notice that I am nervous about teens or whatever. 

I love teens. Even my oldest, most difficult teen...loved it. 

You can watch the same movies discuss good books and laugh at the same stuff. 

LOVE 

TEENS!

main thing? Keep a sense of humor and don’t take the dumb stuff personally. 

Read comics like Zits to keep your perspective and sense of humor.

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I definitely agree with keeping your sense of humor and trying not to take things personally.  It really helps.

I have a 25 year old so I've done the teen bit before.  My younger two are now 12 and 14 so we're in the midst.  For my kids/family, making sure they have plenty of alone time is very important (we're a family of introverts).    

-Bedtime is flexible.  They have to be in their rooms and quiet (but see introvert comment, they are most likely to be in there anyway).   Weekdays we shoot for lights-out at 10pm but don't push if they aren't able to sleep right away.  I take care of it more by getting them up early and pushing exercise so they are able to sleep easily.

We always said we'd give them to the option of public school for high school but both have chosen to stay home.   I basically pick what they do for school since neither of them has expressed any preference.  Both see school as something to get through before doing what they want - drawing for dd, game design for ds.    I will pick classes in their interest if they express an interest.  I will change programs or emphasis if they truly hate something and both are allowed to pick which of my science classes they want to take each year.  

Both have cell phones but mainly because we don't have a landline at home and they need something when they are home alone.   Dd never even uses hers.  She has her ipod set up to chat and uses that.   Both also have laptops and tablets so quite a bit of screen time.  They have to have school, chores, exercise done before going on screens.  So I limit that more by keeping them busy than by setting strict guidelines.  

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My oldest is only about to turn 16, so I have no idea if our approach is a good one, let alone the "right one," at all, and I strongly suspect that what works varies a LOT from family to family and kid to kid.  That said, we practice what my husband calls "aikido parenting."  Basically, in many ways, it feels like I quit active parenting around age 10 or 11.  I mean, I drive them lots of places.  We talk - a LOT.  We bring up lots of topics.  We value relationship over control.  Mostly, with very few exceptions, I don't require anything or have any hard and fast rules after about age ten.  We talk about values - a lot.  We make a ton of recommendations.  There are lots of natural consequences.  We provide a lot of scaffolding and teaching of skills.  But mostly we talk.  They got smart phones at 12 and 13.  We really don't supervise internet usage.  But we talk - a lot.  

But, my kids are easy.  

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8 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

I love teens. Even my oldest, most difficult teen...loved it. 

You can watch the same movies discuss good books and laugh at the same stuff. 

LOVE 

TEENS!

main thing? Keep a sense of humor and don’t take the dumb stuff personally. 

Read comics like Zits to keep your perspective and sense of humor.

I really love this advice.  It was great that they were finally getting it, and we could share so much of the world together.  'Don't take it personally' is hard to follow sometimes, but their new found opinions are just a hop, skip and a jump away from being actions of  young adults that you will have no control over.  So, listen to where they are coming from.

And, like @Farrar said, say Yes a lot, because there will be times when you just have to say No and you want them to know you have been reasonable with their new-found opinions.  

So, listen a lot and hug even more!

Edited by Familia
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8 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

I love teens. Even my oldest, most difficult teen...loved it. 

You can watch the same movies discuss good books and laugh at the same stuff. 

LOVE 

TEENS!

main thing? Keep a sense of humor and don’t take the dumb stuff personally. 

Read comics like Zits to keep your perspective and sense of humor.

I have to say, I always thought I was a little kid person, but I have been surprised at how much I love having teens.  They're genuinely funny and interesting people in their own right, and I don't have to buckle anyone into a car seat or wipe anybody's butt.  It rocks!

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I don't think it is any different with ds at 12 than at 8.  He has more attitude.  I have never worried how long he reads in bed because he falls asleep quickly anyway.  There aren't any kids round he can just hang out with so all getting together with friends still has to be OK'd and arranged with parental input.  The main change apart from attitude is less interest in sports so I have to insist he does a couple of once a week activities.  He starts high school next year (NZ has 5 years high school) and it is nearby so maybe walking to school will make him more independent (he was dropped off or caught a bus before).  He also should get his new room with enough space for a friend to visit in a few weeks which may help.  None of us is that social and with work and activities and homeschool it is hard to fit in social stuff (ds12 is least introverted which is why he is going back to school next year). They watch way too much internet stuff while I work but only in the lounge unless sick.  He has a basic smartphone which he is using as an alarm clock now but will not go to his new room as it is further away.

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We got him a phone to make calls and texts once he was going places on his own (the summers he was 12, 13 and 14 he was taking the bus to a class at the university most days).  We waited on smartphone with a data plan until he started high school, which is my plan for my younger son (turning 11 soon).  

He’s not into sports so we got him a bike to serve that purpose and he rode several or more miles a day.  

Lots of talking and listening and letting him figure things out.  

 

 

Edited by LucyStoner
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17 hours ago, Terabith said:

I have to say, I always thought I was a little kid person, but I have been surprised at how much I love having teens.  They're genuinely funny and interesting people in their own right, and I don't have to buckle anyone into a car seat or wipe anybody's butt.  It rocks!

I think I enjoy having older kids and I will enjoy the teens. I just felt more confident with little kids. Plus, at least in hindsight, it seems harder to mess up with little kids. Just love them and read to them and take them outside and they should be ok. All this teen stuff seems more life changing.

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1 minute ago, lovinmyboys said:

I think I enjoy having older kids and I will enjoy the teens. I just felt more confident with little kids. Plus, at least in hindsight, it seems harder to mess up with little kids. Just love them and read to them and take them outside and they should be ok. All this teen stuff seems more life changing.

Welll...the stakes do seem higher. But parents just have to do the best that they can. And honestly...so much of perceived “success” and “failure” isn’t really up to the parents. It’s some of just the kids’ own choices. 

But really, most kids with decent parents doing the best they can turn out finez

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