Aaah, Teenagers! What comedian Jeff Allen describes as God’s revenge for humanity: “Let’s see how you like it when something you created tells you you don’t know anything!” As a counselor, I think the most trying phases of parenting that I have seen are the toddler years and the teen years. So similar in issues - only with bigger bodies. The control of potty training has been replaced by curfew. Instead of sharing their toys, they have to share the family car. Instead of talking kindly to others, they need to talk kindly to you! Here are some tips to keep in mind so you won’t lose yours:
1. You are not alone
Scores of parents of generations past have survived adolescence, and so will you. Perhaps you were the one that gave your parents their mass of gray hair, and shattered nerves. You can see they survived. Strike up a conversation with other parents of teens, and I am sure you will find a lot of common ground.
2. You are not crazy
The one thing that brings the most relief to the parents of teens is when I tell them they are not crazy for their feelings. The inconsistency of teenagers’ decisions, irrational behavior, and sometimes deception can make a parent feel crazy. “Adolescence” is when teens are trying to make “sense” of being an “adult.” The trial and error of it can be confusing for all involved.
3. It is a phase
Parents of teens can often feel like their lives will be, or have been, in chaos forever. This is not true. Just as the toddler years did not last forever, neither will the adolescent years. Even though it may not feel like it now, there have been times that you have already created positive memories your teen will cherish later as an adult. Keep up the good work!
4. Every day can be a do over
Having a challenging day with your teen today? Not quite communicating? Feeling the tug of war with power struggles? The great thing about this season of life is there are new opportunities to start again each day. Or you don’t have to wait until tomorrow; you can start again right now! It is amazing what the power of an apology can do!
5. Maintain a sense of humor
Above everything, maintain a sense of humor. Henry Ward Beecher said it best: A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road. Parenting teens can not only come with pebbles, but with boulders. A humorous perspective can mean the difference between sanity and senility.
6. Do everything to maintain your marital relationship
You love your children, but the first priority is your marriage. Find time to safeguard your relationship to maintain closeness with your spouse. The parenting years will soon be over, but your marriage will last a lifetime. As a counselor, I have seen many couples that feel like they do not know one another anymore because they have allowed parenting to invade upon their marital intimacy.
Whether you are a newbie or an experienced veteran, parenting teens can be challenging. Perspective can provide a sense of relief during the troubled times and perhaps prevent them from becoming overwhelming.
Are you looking for more common sense advice, practical solutions and even humor for parenting your teen? I invite you to check out http://www.parentingyourteenager.com where you will find tips for parenting teens, school, curfew, and more!
Terre Grable is a Christian licensed professional counselor. She enjoys helping parents and teens become better friends when they feel like enemies.
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Contributing Author for www.MyOutOfControlTeen.com