Well hello, Moms and Dads! Are you exhausted yet? I am! Being home with the whole family during quarantine has brought about a whole new set of challenges to what is already challenging enough. Parenting is not for sissies! I am a Mama of three girls with a wide age range. I love my daughters more than life! They are beautiful, amazing, unique, and original masterpieces of God’s creating. I would not trade being a mom for the world. But…that doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging!
As I’ve been going through all of my training to be a Life Coach, I’ve received such incredible tips and information for parenting. My mentors, Mark and Magali Peysha have a few more kids than we do, and lots of experience working with parents. I think I’ve also learned a thing or two! I apologize to my eldest daughter regularly and often about being too intense most of the time parenting her. I watch back old home videos of her and her younger sister and I was very into protecting her sister (she was tiny after all) and might have gone overboard and forgotten that she was adjusting also to a new human in the house. We really don’t know much when we have kids, most are learned in the trenches, and through our triumphs and mistakes.
Here are some of my best tips, combined with Mark and Magali’s helpful tips for how to communicate with your teenager.
- Pick your top three rules/agreements with your teen and discuss them. Safety should always be number one. Our main job as parents is to keep them safe, right? Then pick two other ones that are important to you such as coming home on time, eating well, only socialize with kids you’ve met. You can choose what is right for you for the three, but keep your expectations to the three. Allow their room to be messy if it’s not on the list. Expecting them to do all of their chores all of the time might be too hard to enforce. Pick expectations that are reasonable. Tell the child, you will be happy if XYZ are taken care of. If they fail at school it’s on them, they will experience their own consequences from that. This gives them freedom within an agreed-upon structure that is simple enough to not be overwhelming.
- Get clear what your goals are for the communication before talking to your child. We often go into conversations with teens treating them like “defective adults”, they don’t have the years of experience in communication that you have. Know what you want to accomplish to prevent too much talking and listen to them too. They are learning.
- Look for moderate solutions. Often we as parents overreact, especially the first time a child defies us, and we take it personally. We want to take their doors off the hinges or ground them for a month. Teens are testing their boundaries and trying out their independence. The more we can listen to them and ask questions, rather than commanding and yelling, will help us hear what they are going through and maintain a more moderate parenting style. They will be more apt to come to us if we aren’t “scary” and mad all the time.
- Get curious. Ask questions regularly and often. If your teen is like mine is, they might not like it, but you will learn a lot. This doesn’t mean interrogate them! Ask how they are, ask about their friends, ask what was their favorite part of their day. If they are grumpy or sassy, ask them what’s going on for them? Try not to take it personally and take the time to ask. You’ll be amazed at how it will soften the communication when they don’t feel judged and they know you are listening!
These are just a few of the things that have been helpful to me over the years. If you need additional help with your family relationships, I am happy to work 1:1 with you to help you set goals and create more of what you want!