Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How I survived the teen years and beyond........

I am no parenting expert, nor do I claim to be.  I'm  just going with it, day by day. I am at the point now I have a 21,19,17 and 14 yr old..This is what I have learned.........

1. You are not their friend!! 
The sooner you realize this the better. This means they don't hang out with you and your friends, and you don't know every detail about them or their friends.  You are the parent, and teens need parents not friends. Set clear boundaries and stick to them.

2. As they get older, like senior year and turning 18, you are more like a guide. Hopefully by this time time you have set clear rules and boundaries and they can start policing themselves. Like what movie should they go see, where are they going, who with and what to do. Start letting them make decisions sooner rather than later so they aren't soooo indecisive when they hit college and hopefully won't feel the need to rebel or do things "just cuz they can "

3. Parenting is a journey with an uncertain destination. 
We can't count on our kids not getting in trouble or making bad decisions just because we are good parents.There is no formula that will assure us our children will follow what we feel they should do, or whats right for them. Its their life, they decide who and what they will be when they grow up.

4. Dating. 
I don't think we should just prepare our children for the "one" . I think they should date around and get to know different types of boys/girls to even figure out what type of person they are attracted to. I think real dating like alone time should wait until junior/senior year. They can play their little games at school, go to some dances and proms, but probably junior year a real boyfriend who comes over and they go on real dates like the movies and then come home. Of course you know your child best, how responsible and mature they are and what they can handle. 

5. They should work close to home.
Just in case you need to check on things or if they need a ride etc. Also they should come home from work then go out. For example, no working 1/2 hr to 45 minutes away, changing at work, or someone's house, then going out. That would mean some days you didn't see your kid until midnight! Even if you never check on them, they need to know you CAN and WILL if necessary.

6. Don't waste your time with lectures and stories of your life thinking they care. 
They don't. Tell them things on a need to know basis. They will just use it to embarrass you or manipulate it for their benefit to just do what they want.For example, mom you smoked when you were my age, I'm sure you had sex before marriage, etc. Again, yes you know your child best and what you think they can handle. Just keep in mind, good kids make bad choices sometimes too.

7. Even college kids should be home by 10pm during the week and 12midnight on the weekend. 
Nothing good happens after midnight.  Of course this is subject to change, depending what is going on, how your child is adjusting, and how responsible you think they are. Keep in mind, my perspective is i still have young kids at home, my house my rules, and  you will not just come and go,this is not a hotel.

8. Back to dating.. You don't need to see your boyfriend/girlfriend everyday. Date on the weekends. Protect your relationship, your integrity and your purity. Limit alone time. At the very least have self respect. If he/she really loves you he won't take you away from your family, make you do things you wouldn't normally do or aren't ready for. These things should be discussed at the beginning of the relationship and if purity is something of importance to you he/she should respect that. Yes maybe a little "old fashioned" but as you are well aware of, there is PLENTY of time for all that. How about becoming all you can be, then settling down when you are both ready.

9. When they do move out try not to nag and make it harder. 
They like to live in fantasy island where things magically work out. Just tell them what you think once and say now you can not come to me later in life and say you never told me or didn't try to save me etc. For example sometimes kids move out on a whim with an I will show you attitude and not plan anything. Of course it is only a matter of time until money runs out and they are homeless. LET it happen. Real life, you wanted to be an adult, now you can act like one.

10. Don't talk bad about your husband/wife to your kids. 
Make sure you talk about love, how he makes you feel, his character etc. Make sure they know what to look for in someone. Someone who loves them for who they are, makes them feel safe, loved, and protected. To a certain extent, keep the fantasy alive of happily ever after. Maybe they will find it. It's not for us to choose for them.