Creative Teen ParentingAug 06, 2020 08:41PM ● By The Hood Magazine
By: Shelly Gaddis
Parenting teens is NO JOKE! While parenting teenagers has some very specific and difficult challenges that are presented, I can honestly say that the teenage years are my favorite years of parenting! I’m beginning to believe that the teenage years are our reward for all of the sleepless nights and stress that the younger years put us through. If you are like me, I crave deep relationships and understanding what makes people tick…and finally I can have those conversations with our teenagers! They are just starting to understand their own emotions and it feels amazing to me that I am blessed to be the person that they choose to open up to!
However, I’m not going to lie and tell you that the teenage years are all sunshine and roses. There are definitely days where my husband and I have lost our patience and been pushed to the edges of our boundaries. My voice has been louder than I care to admit on more than one occasion. Strong emotions that aren’t clear to the teenager can also lead to strong feelings towards their parents, siblings and even friends. When we have a need to discipline our teenagers, our family chooses to apply methods of practical applications. We ultimately want our children to understand what their calling is for their life and how to be a good human being in a world that will not always be good to them. These are just a few of the tricks that have worked with our teenagers over the past few years:
Meal Planning Masters: As our children got to be a little older we started having more problems with kids being picky with the foods that we were serving for meals and packing in their lunches. Now, our children are in charge of all of the meal planning and grocery list making for our household. We started out with having them choose the items for their lunches and add those to our grocery shopping lists, then we made it a routine for them to join us at the grocery store and understand the cost and nutritional value of their food choices and now they have advanced to the meal planning masters! Incorporate life skills wherever possible!
Love One Another: When our teens choose to say disrespectful or hurtful words to other people we make sure that they understand how those words affect the other person and then try to counteract those words with words that aren’t spoken in anger or frustration. We have had our children write letters to each other telling them all of the positive things they like about that sibling. While at the time they rolled their eyes at us, we have now found that they have kept those letters and I suspect that they look at them when they are feeling down.
Repetition: Our brains are amazing and we will believe the words that we feed into it. When our kids choose to make choices that are unwise, we try to put them in a place where others will be in their presence and we ask them to write lines. This seems like a silly punishment to them as they are in their teenage years, however, the fact that they are surrounded by conversation of people talking and laughing while they are repeatedly writing sentences about how to change their behavior or positive self-talk is a sure-fire way for our teens to get better perspective on their behavior.
While I am not a licensed professional, I can speak from a place of solidarity of the challenges and joys that parenting multiple teenagers allows us to experience. The words that you speak to your teens today are the inner dialogues that they are going to carry into their adult years. If we want to have a generation of caring world-changers, then we need to empower them to be the people that they were created to be!