They Grow-Up So Fast
Do you remember how you felt when your children were born? I bet most parents do. I can remember holding my beautiful newborn babies and thinking "This is love!" Fast forward a few years and now those babies have grown into teenagers with teenage opinions on how their good ol' Mom (and Dad) should act. I've made several mistakes over the years, as I'm sure everyone has, so I decided to put together this little list. These are some of "Da Rules" that your teens probably want you to know.
Teenagers: A Parent's HandbookCredit: Introspective Pics
The first rule is do not, under any circumstances, embarrass your teen. This rule applies to the way you look, act, and what you say when you're in public with your teen, or when they are with their friends. Also, please don't make the mistake of listening to your favorite music in the car while driving your teenagers and their friends around town. Even worse, don't sing out-loud to songs like "Close The Door" by Teddy Pendergrass or "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor, or any song, you'll just embarrass your precious offspring.
Text Me When You Get There . . . I Mean It!
If your teen goes out and forgets to text you (and, it will happen), don't immediately drive to the place they're supposed to be. A few months after getting her driver's license, my oldest daughter drove a few blocks away to a high school dance. I was a bundle of nerves when I didn't get a text from her letting me know that she made it. I decided I would drive past the parking lot just to make sure everything was fine. My anxiety was immediately relieved at the sight of her car parked in the lot. My teen, on the other hand, was not so relieved to hear about my 'drive-by' when she got home. She protested "Mom! How could you!" "Hey," I replied, "You're lucky I didn’t actually go INTO the dance!" Then I reminded her of the father of a teenager who told the story about how he actually went to a high school dance, found his daughter and gave her a scolding in front of her friends for not answering her phone when he called. Who cares that the father and daughter were on a television show about "Overprotective Parents."
When I Was Your Age . . .
Teenagers don't like to hear any sentence that begins with the phrase "When I was your age . . ." You might as well have been born during the Stone Age. For all your teen cares, the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s are no different than prehistoric times. They do not want to hear how you "walked to school in the snow," or had to get a job to help your family, not because you wanted to buy the latest iPod. Teenagers won't empathize with the way it was when you were young, so don't even go there.
Don't Spoil Movie Time Together
Credit: Warner Bros. PicturesIt's always nice when your teen wants to watch a movie with you, and they like it even more when it's a movie they choose. However, what they don't like is when you ask too many questions or make comments during the movie.
A few months ago my husband and I watched the final Harry Potter movie with our youngest and you'd a thought that we were in the library because every time we asked a question or made a comment we got a "Shush!" immediately followed by a glance of disapproval. But, in all sincerity, I really couldn't understand some of the dialog. Also, to this day, I still don't understand why that hug between Voldemort and Draco was so darn awkward!
If you follow your teenagers on social sites such as Facebook, try not to comment and "Like" everything that your teens posts. Most teens don't like it when they constantly see things like "WTG, Honey!" or "That's adorable, sweetie!" Try to keep your social network communication to a minimum. Remember, you see your teens more than their friends, so why not just talk to them instead.
Nag, Nag, Nag . . .
"Do your homework!" "Clean your room!" "Get off the computer!" Whatever it is, if you've said it to your teenager more than a couple of times, the chances are pretty good that they're no longer listening to you when you bring that particular subject up again. Teenagers, just like everyone else, don't want to be nagged. But, what should you do to get your teens to do their homework, clean their room or get off the computer? Well, despite how you or they may feel, you are still the parent and have the control. You can try taking things or privileges away or rewarding them for positive behavior. There are several books you can read on the subject of raising teenagers. But one thing's for sure, nagging doesn't work.
You're Wearing What?!?!
Credit: Morgue FilesTeenagers don't want their parents telling them what to wear, nor do they want to hear their parent's negative opinions about the outfits they choose to wear. Although teenagers are not always the best when it comes to fashion, cut them some slack and give them a little leeway. If their choice is not vulgar or insulting, let them express themselves through their clothing. Even if you think their outfit is silly, they don't. Take a look at photos of what you wore as a teenager and share them with your teens. Maybe when they see how silly you looked, they will think twice about what they wear.
Your teens probably have lots of friends but only a couple of parents, so don't try to be one of your teenager's friends. Instead, be a parent, and that means making the tough decisions when required, and teaching your young ones right from wrong. Be consistent and follow through on consequences. In addition, when your teens are hurting, please don't say "I told you so!" Sometimes all a teen needs is for their parents to listen and just be there to support them.
Always Love Your Teens - Even When You Don't Like Them Too Much
Credit: Introspective PicsSomeone once said "Too many of today's children have straight teeth and crooked morals." Although teenagers can push all of your buttons at times, the one thing they consistently need is your love. Let them know that no matter what they do, you will always love them. However, that doesn't mean they can get away with bad behavior without consequences. Discipline is part of love, and no matter how much they fight with you about taking away their cell phone or other treasured items, show them you love them enough to do something about their bad behavior.
For information on other topics see the following:
Credit: TriStar PicturesSoul Surfer: The True Story of Bethany Hamilton