I am officially the mother of a 16 year old! How on earth did that happen? How is it that I am the mother of teenage kids! I never imagined I would be that old or that I would be equipped to parent a teen! I had preconceived notions that parenting teens would be a nightmare. Actually its quite the opposite. It’s so much fun! Yes fun! I’m in awe at how my kids are turning into young adults that I am so proud of. I think to myself, how did I get here?
I started reflecting on my parenting journey just recently when I saw friends with younger children dealing with challenging behaviours. They asked me, (or should I say pleaded with me) “tell me it gets easier”?
Parents of teens will often say it’s “different”. It is different; it’s busy. But for me, the answer is a resounding YES… yes it does get easier. I no longer experience the physical and mental drain of parenting a younger child who is trying to test limits and figure out their emotions, their friendships, their likes and dislikes… the list goes on.
My husband and I were talking about parenting our kids when they were younger. We agreed that we are definitely reaping the benefits of our earlier investment in positive parenting. Yes we are taking credit for their current behaviour (LOL). Start and invest when they are young. Parenting a teen is a lot more about how you parented, guided and taught your younger child.
There were so many challenging times when they were younger. We had to survive all those emotional and explosive behaviours. I admit, there were times we just wanted to give in to make it all go away. That would have been so much easier. But we persevered with positive parenting and assertive discipline. Are my teens perfect? Ha! No of course not. Do they still have behaviours and emotions? Absolutely! But they are able to manage and maneuver them without draining every ounce of energy out of me.
My message to parents with young children is that all your hard work pays off! It really does. I’m so glad:
- We followed through on positive discipline.
- We taught them how to manage their emotions.
- We valued mental health and dealt with impulses.
- We taught problem solving.
- We taught them how to lose gracefully (and be a gracious winner).
- We taught them the value of real friendships and how to be a good friend. We talked about compromise, the value of sharing and appreciation.
- We used developmental assets, and helped build their self esteem.
I listed above only a few of our parenting strategies and I know our journey will still have many twists and turns as we navigate the teen years, but the foundation really starts when they are young. And it’s so worth it!
What are some of your tried and true parenting strategies?
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