There is basically no better way to describe the feeling of parenting teenagers on a daily basis other than just admitting the simple truthful statement that it sucks. Yes, it sucks. Depending upon where you live, and what kind of home you are, and what sort of a community you’re in, the level of sucking varies.
If like me, you’ve arrived on teenage turf, you will undeniably experience, sooner or later some form of hormonal irrational tumultuous combative morphing, from the people you once knew to be your children. And nothing about it will fall under the category of easy. Acknowledging the inevitable is key, I highly recommend accepting the fact that you will be tested; no one is exonerated.
What can we do to make our lives easier through the journey?
1. Remove “negotiation” from the stratosphere. For most of us there have been many many times along the road of raising kids, when the art of negotiation leads to a favorable result for our children. Is it a crime to change our minds when our kids present a practical alternative? No not necessarily. In fact it supports our ability, if not overused, to show flexibility. In fact, it can help hone the problem-solving skills of our little angels, and show them the respect they deserve and crave. That said, from here on out, those days are over. The little angels have morphed and negotiation needs to be obsolete.
2. Leave No Holes– There is no question as parents, we struggle the most when we’re in flux. Notice how frustrated, and then angry we become when we feel our kids “pulling” is working? When we start second guessing ourselves, when the almighty teenage pleas and persistence find an opening in us? That’s when we lose it. That’s when we explode or implode. We have to close off all chances for the leaks, which inevitably lead to the cesspool of teenage arbitration or war. Spackle now!
3. Regroup– What I mean by this is take a step back for a good look at yourself, yes you read that right, I said yourself. If your relationship with your teenager is strained, it’s simply too easy to always point the finger at them. We know they’re crazy, focus for a second on the control you have over you. Look at your reactions, your pattern, your history, your antics, your expectations, and your repetition. Make sure you are being honest and seeing your part in the relationship, no matter what the circumstances, it takes two.
4. SURRENDER – How often do we hear this word in today’s world? A lot. You know why? There’s something to it. If indeed you have done all the work you need to do, set the rules, set the boundaries, planted your feet firmly, looked at yourself, and then embraced the inevitability of your child becoming a teenager… The only thing left to do is surrender. Believe you are doing the right things and decide not to get irrational, frustrated, and amped up. Plant yourself firmly for the only shot at reasonable living, for glimpses of calm by maintaining your position. Choose to leave the drama to the teenager alone, It’s not nearly as much fun for them.
We have very little control over what goes on in the distinct, hormonal pathology of our growing children, but we do have control over how we engage and respond. Cement you feet for this one, and go at it with purpose.