Parenting teens is hard, and, then it’s easy. Then, it will be hard again. Then, it will confusing. Really confusing before it becomes scary, exciting, frustration, funny, weird, and wild. It will be sticky and shiny and dirty and colorful and lonely and social. Parenting teens is life. Your life and your teens.
Stop looking for the “right” way and choose the way that works for you and your family.
Parenting is not about being the best parent or having the best child. It’s about being the best parent for your kids. And, it’s about being the best you for you. And, being what is best for your teen means letting go … of control, of guilt, of excuses, of perfection to parent the teen you have right now – not the perfect one seen on TV or online. You can aim for perfection every time but you will always end up human. Be human.
The teen years are your teen’s journey.
Parenting your teen is your journey. They are two different things that sometimes intersect and, well, sometimes don’t. That doesn’t mean your child doesn’t need you. Your teen needs you in a different way. More than disciplinarian, authoritarian, friendatarian, you teen needs you to be a guide. So, guide them.
Stop fixing and start listening. If you teen is sad, mad, worried, listen. Just sit and listen. Listen not just with your ears, but with your eyes, your heart, your whole damn body. If you need to say something, ask this “what do YOU think would help?”, and then listen more.
And, talk. Talk about the little things. The weird things. The whatever things. The more you talk about those things, the easier it is for your teen to talk with you about the big stuff … the worries, the fears, and the mistakes.
Yes, there will be mistakes. Lots of them. Your teen’s and yours. Learn from them. Grow from them, but don’t judge them. Rather exercise empathy for your teen, for you family, for your fellow moms (and dads!), and, for yourself.
Strive to grow, to learn, to improve … not because you are lacking but because you growing … as a parent and as a person. Question status quo to discover new, different – even unconventional – perspectives + opportunities. Take risks and inspire change by being change. Because, you cannot change anything else without first changing yourself. Be the role model your kids need. Be the role model YOU need.
Through it all remember, you are not good or bad. (Neither is your teen!) You are a parent and you are a person. You are capable of much more than you take credit for, and you are appreciated for more than you realize. So, believe in your child and believe in yourself. This is your time to step in and step up into just how amazing you are. You matter, and you are always enough.
With love, peace and happiness,
PS.If you would like to meet fellow parents, educators, and other caring adults who are on a similar journey of navigating life with teens, join us in the WTDW Facebook Group.
PPS. I have put together a FREE 4-part video series taking a deeper dive into what teens and parents need. Check it out here!