Enjoy parenting your teens? Is it even possible?
Teenage is confusing and so is parenting our teens. This age has the power to make both parents and children drive up against the wall. This has been said many times and experienced by all parents across the world. We have heard so many negative stories around teenage parenting that we start believing that its something we need to just face and go through but not to enjoy.
However, I feel I will be able to enjoy my daughter’s teen years rather than in her childhood years. Because now I can communicate easily with her. She understands me, though she might behave aloof and show arrogance in her behaviour to just prove her point. I know somewhere she knows that I have her best interests in my mind and that most of the times I am right (wink).
Let’s discuss how can we make out time with our teens If you know what to expect, you can put it in perspective, relax, and enjoy your teenager!
Here are a few tips on how you can enjoy teen parenting:
Play a sport or do activities along with your teen
I was of the impression that once my daughter is all grown up, I will have all the time to myself because then I would not have to spend too much time with her playing something or doing various activities with her. But how wrong was I? She once complained that I do not play now with her and that made me realise, that she wants to spend time with me. So now we play badminton at least thrice a week. We play scrabble and also paint together. I have to just get her now to read together because she doesn’t do and finds excuses.
Give them your undivided attention
Listen. When they are back from school and want to share stuff with you, listen. Do not start lecturing them on first changing their uniform or eating lunch. I was doing that. Stop doing whatever you are to listen to them because they will have stories to share. If you really want your teen shares with you, start this practice when they are in pre-teenage. Because that’s the age when they actually want to share everything about their school time with us. Make the most of this opportunity of sharing your teenage stories when they are sharing school crush gossips. This will make them open up about their relationships and trust you. By not judging them they get a message that you treat them as an individual and respect their ideas. By giving them your undivided attention you may find that they will actually begin listening to you. This will make your communication with your teen a two-way process and you will also get a chance to relive your teenage years plus enjoy the teen parenting process.
Give them time to open up at their will
Do not pester them to share everything with you. They will eventually when they are ready. Do not ask too many questions when you feel they are stressed or worked up about something. Just let them calm down, give them time to unwind and I am sure they will come to you. Because if you do this, you will unnecessarily stress yourself too, be worried about them and not actually enjoy their teen years.
Having frequent family dinners
Family dinner is a great way to enjoy teen parenting. Eating dinner together as a family should be a gadget-free time. This will provide a good opportunity to listen and talk to your teen. It is a great method to stay engaged with your teen’s lives and make them feel loved and important. Research shows that having family dinners help in dealing with stress better as well. So, it’s overall a great way to eat together and enjoy your child’s teens.
Do not stalk them on social media
Would you like it if you found your parents reading your personal diary? In today’s internet age, I feel social media accounts of the teenagers are their personal diaries.
So, refrain from stalking all of their social media activities. There is no doubt we need to keep a watch on the time they spend on social media but gaining their trust is a better approach than finding about their social life by stalking them. Do not give them a reason to think that you do not trust them. With the internet being an unsafe place, there is no doubt that you will be worried but you can install parenting control software on their devices after taking them into confidence rather than stalking them. I asked my preteen if she would allow me to send friend requests to her friends when she does have a social media account of her own, and she refused. So, do not send friend requests to their friends without discussing it first with them. Let them share the stories with you and enjoy listening to them rather than finding out about it through their social media.
In my opinion, the right way to enjoying your child’s teenage years is to embrace it fully, keep communication a two-way process, have patience and keep your sense of humour intact.