Enjoy the Teenage Years part 2

Late at night, snuggled up warm in bed, desiring to sleep, and our teenagers arrive home bursting to share with me their evening. I have a choice. Listen or tell them to wait until the morning.

In reality, there isn’t a choice as I realize that in the morning, our kids will not share to the same level. If I sacrifice my desire at that moment, they will share all the stuff that has happened and allow me a further glimpse into their life. I hear their genuine feelings.

I remember when I jumped off the school bus as a teenager. If mum was in the house when I entered, I would share all the details from my day. But if mum was in the cowshed milking the cows and I had to get changed and straight into my chores, by the time I saw mum and she asked how my day was, I would reply, “fine”. Tremendous difference. Nothing would chisel my honest feelings and thoughts out of me.

 

Parenting teenagers is a lot about sacrificing.

When our kids are teenagers, it is not the time to be living a frantic lifestyle with a demanding job and a significant focus outside the family unit. Our teenagers need us around for them. Hubby and I have made massive financial sacrifices so that I could spend time with our kids. We are finding it has paid off in our relationship with them.

When our eldest was two years old, I heard Steve Biddulph, an Australian parenting expert. He said two things I will never forget. The first thing was that if a mum had been a stay-at-home mum and was looking at getting back into the workforce when your kids started high school was not the time to start work again, or at the least, work school hours so you are home when your kids are home. He emphasized our teenagers need us to be at home in the afternoon when they arrive home.

We need to be available to listen to our teenagers.

Parenting teenagers is about putting their needs before my wants.

Parenting teenagers means being available.

Parenting teenagers is about presence rather than presents.

Parenting teenagers is about putting relationship above rules. Sure, teenagers need boundaries and rules, but they need our love too. They need our attention, our ear, and our heart. They need time to share their inner thoughts.

Parents, please go against peer pressure and don’t put your wants and supposed ‘needs’ ahead of your teenagers.

 

Parents, please deal with your issues.

Get prayer ministry, counselling etc and help you understand your insecurities, background and ‘buttons’ because your teenagers will undoubtedly find them if you haven’t dealt with them.

Being aware of your issues and having a solid self-esteem means that you can separate your issues from your teenager’s behaviour.

I’ve witnessed parents becoming frazzled and fracturing their relationship with their teenager over the teen wearing holey jeans in church. Sure, I may not like the idea that my daughter wears jeans with holes to church, but she may not like some things I wear. It is not enough of an issue to put a crack in our relationship. Our relationship is far more important than a pair of jeans. I don’t take it personally or as a sign of my parenting. It is my daughter expressing her personality.

When a mum recently banned her son from learning to drive the car due to him sporting a mullet haircut, it was more of a reflection of her self-esteem, and she allowed it to affect her relationship with her son.

Parents, please let’s put things into perspective. Please do not sweat the small stuff.

Parents, please be the adult in the relationship and respond lovingly, not disrespectful or saying something you may regret.

I sometimes ask, “Will this matter in 1 year, five years or ten years?” If not, then I shouldn’t allow it to matter today.

 

Parents, perspective is everything.

When my daughter was a toddler, people would often comment on how ‘easy’ she was as a baby. They would then say, “Wait until she hits the teen years. Girls are hard work then.” I determined in my heart that I would reject those words. Instead, I was going to enjoy the teen years. Our daughter is turning eighteen at the end of this month, and it has been a joy to parent her through her teenage years.

If I am looking for it to be a hassle, it will be. Instead, if I have the outlook that it will be enjoyable, I carry that atmosphere and belief.

Be careful of the words you speak, that they are life-giving. Instead of “I’m dreading my kids becoming teenagers,” think about changing that to speaking positive words of “This is an exciting chapter opening up in my child’s life.” The Bible is clear that the words we speak come true. Isaiah 55:11 says, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

What are you speaking over your teenagers today?

 

Parenting teenagers is a wild but delightful time. A time that will push you to your limits and a time that will be precious and lovingly remembered.

Delight in these years. So much depends on our attitude and how we invest in the relationship.

Get help if you need it so that you can delight in the teenage years.

Above all, enjoy!!

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