Because of her battle with addiction, my mother missed out on so many important things in life. She missed out on one of the most challenging and greatest joys in the world – being a mom. I love being a mom to my sweet boys. At 20 and 16 they are hardly boys anymore. They are young men. But in my heart, they will always be my babies…even when they’re 90!
Through trial and error, some great role models, not so good role models and awesome books, I learned several things which have made parenting enjoyable, easier and fun. Two of my favorite parenting books are: Parenting Teens with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay and The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman.
Here are 10 things I’ve learned (obviously it’s not an all inclusive – I could list 100):
- It’s hard to be a teenager. They deal with a lot of changes, hormones and emotions. Teen years are tough. Don’t you remember?
- Don’t take things personal or make it about you when your kids are having a bad day. You miss the whole message. Don’t provoke them and make the situation worse. We all have bad days and get frustrated. They like to be left alone and treated with love and kindness. Remember how you wanted and needed to be treated when you were a teen?
- Don’t try to control everything they do or they won’t listen to you on anything – especially the big things. By the teen years – you are more of a consultant not a drill sergeant. You want your “no” or request for something to be heard and mean something. Remember what it was like trying to learn how to make good choices? Our kids need the opportunity to learn lessons at a young age. Natural consequences are very effective.
- Be careful how you react. Sometimes we teach our kids not to communicate or be honest with us by the way we react or respond to them.
- If you want to be treated with respect – model it! Teens have respect for people who treat them with respect even when things aren’t going their way. Be a model. There is a huge difference between kids who treat their parents with respect because it is demanded and kids who treat their parents with respect because they truly respect them.
- Remember- teens aren’t perfect and neither are parents. We all make mistakes. Model how to apologize when you need to.
- Tell your teen you love them several times a day. But don’t just tell them – show them.
- Spend quality one on one time with your teen. Alternate picking the activity. Get in their world and meet them where they are. You won’t regret it. They are quite fun.
- Examine your motives. Don’t make them your maid. Work with them and show them how to work. Don’t make silly rules just because it’s easier or benefits you. Consider your teen. What is best for them? Do the hard stuff even when you don’t feel like it. They will love and respect you for it.
- Teach them to laugh especially at themselves. Don’t forget to laugh at yourself either! This is one of my favorites! I love to laugh, especially with them.
Remember – as you age the roles will be reversed. How do you want them to treat you?
I love my boys! They make my life so much fun and my world is enriched because of them. I don’t want to sweat the small stuff – life is too short. I want to savor the sweetness!
Finding the sweet side of crazy!