When my kids were little they made sense to me. I loved morning snuggles, waiting for the bus, attending dance recitals and helping with homework. Sure, there were days when I was frustrated or overwhelmed but by and large, parenting small children came naturally. I assumed that the teenage years would be more of the same.
I was wrong.
It turns out that teenagers (at least mine) were not so easy to figure out. It felt like all of a sudden, everything I used to do to help my kids snap out of a bad mood or work through an issue wasn’t working anymore. And my chatty and snuggly kids were now a lot quieter and definitely not so willing to cuddle. I felt out of my element, wondered what I was doing wrong and I missed the close, fun relationship I had with them when they were younger.
We are now on teens #5 and #6 and I have learned a few things over the years but if I had one piece of parenting advice to give it would be this:
It can be so easy to get frustrated or sad or even mad when it seems like all of your parenting strategies don’t seem to be working the way you want them to. In the throes of adolescence it can seem like a moody teen will always be a moody teen. You sometimes wonder if they will do anything but grunt at you or grudgingly show up for family dinner. But with a little love, time, and most importantly, patience you will start to see a change and they will come back around. As our four oldest have grown up, left home and started lives of their own they have become lots more chatty (and even more cuddly). All it took was patience – which required some lowering of expectations for a while.
Every teen is different but for those of you out there who are parenting teens, please share any wise words you may have!
QUESTION: What Is YOUR #1 piece of advice for parenting teens?
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