The biggest mistake that we as parents make with raising teenagers is CONSISTENCY. It sometimes feels like it’s easier to just let it go “this time”, or they say it won’t happen again. Our children need rules and boundaries; they thrive on it. This is a task that seems easier said than done; take it one day at a time. Pick and choose your battles, and the ones you choose to challenge, make sure you are willing to follow-through with the punishment. There have been a few times in my experience where I would get really upset and blurt out without thinking, some crazy punishment. Then later on when I really got to reflect on the situation I would see that clearly the punishment I blurted out didn’t fit the crime. Then deciding what the punishment should really be, I would go to my teenager and explain what happened and that I thought I was unfair with the punishment. At that point I would explain what it was going to be. I think this showed my children that I make mistakes as well, but I also went to them and made it right. Trust building is so important, especially at their age. Our children want to feel like their side is important. Take the time to listen to what they have to say. It will help to build a good working parent-child relationship. Build their trust. When we consistently follow through a pattern will start to form and those long days with misbehaved teenagers become few and far between. We as parents aren’t expected to get it right every time. It is also a learning process for us as well. And every child is clearly different. When you find a technique that works, stick with it!
There are so many wonderful resources out there these days. The national parent helpline is an amazing support system 1-855-427-2736 or nationalparenthelpline.org, Parenting.org is also a great free resource from Boys Town. Love our children USA, childhelpusa.org. There are so many great organizations that are solely dedicated to making our families stronger even through the toughest of times. Just remember that you are not alone. There is help at your fingertips. It’s okay to ask for help. We teach our kids that when they are in need, that they are supposed to call us. Well it has to go both ways. Sometimes we just need someone to talk to. And finally the best advice I can offer is something I tell my children. I wasn’t given the job of being their friend. I was given the best job of all which is to be their parent. And I will strive every day to be a better one. Being their friend comes later in life. And that my love is without condition!