I read a lot of blogs written by Mothers of babies and toddlers. Not as many are out there by Mothers of Teenagers. I think it's because teenagers are like another species. They make us feel like we've lost our "cool" factor--- Our "je ne sais quoi."
I don't know about you, but according to MY teens, I'm fat, out of shape, out of touch with what's cool (just using the word "cool" is an illustration), and embarrassing to be seen with.
I think that's why Moms of Teenagers don't blog as much. Teens infect you with Low Self Esteem as a human being, much less a parent. Who wants to blog about THAT?
Having teens is a whole new parenting paradigm for me.
I am accustomed to the paternal/maternal decision tree method of parenting.
I tell them what to do.
They (theoretically) do it.
Now, with teens, I'm learning there is a subtle shift in the power arc.
I tell them what to wear to stay warm/dry.
They refuse and tell me "I've got this, Mom." Or they lie about the umbrella/poncho/sweater they
have in their backpack for later.
I tell them they have to get up to go to school, if they want a ride.
They ignore me and I have to call them four hundred zillion times to get them out of bed.
I tell them I want the dishwasher emptied and the dog walked before I get home so I can cook dinner as soon as I get home.
They have learned to be passive aggressive and "forget" that I told them this (every single day
for the last year and a half) and I scream until they do it.. Then I make dinner after they do the
When called to eat: "I'm not hungry, Mom. I ate a sandwich before you got home."
Clearly, a new tack is required.
My husband is a champion at this. He is the eldest of five. His responses are more of the "give them enough rope to hang themselves" sort. Learn by screwing up. Make mistakes and live with them.
He also knows what motivates a teenager. I have a lot to learn.
He puts his iPad with LOUD OBNOXIOUS Classical music/Marching Anthems/Peruvian Dance Music on the stairs after he calls them to get up, until they get mad, get up and turn it off on the way to the kitchen.
He leaves and lets them take the bus or walk to school if they don't get up.
He tempts them with a yummy breakfast like french toast or bacon, and then threatens to eat it if they don't get up RIGHT NOW! Then, he follows through.
He lets them get wet/cold/hungry if they decide our safety/dressing "advice" is stupid and unnecessary. (unless personal safety is at real risk-like camping in 30 degree weather with no long johns, extra layers, etc.)
He yells much less frequently than I do so that when he does, it's more effective.
I asked him his philosophy on raising teens. He said:
Lead by Example
Teens JUMP on hypocrisy or inconsistency and throw it back into your face.
(You have to obey your own rules which is difficult to do at times)
Then he sighed.
"Survival. That's what it really is. You simply have to survive their teen years (and so do they). Once they become young adults, they metamorphose back into pleasant beings."
So there you have it.
Lead by Example. Be Consistent. Don't be a Hypocrite. Follow your own rules.
And don't drink the Kool-Aid of teenager's insults.
I AM cool.
I AM hip,
and as Stuart Smiley says:
"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggone It! People Like Me!"
Okay, there's a lot more to it than this. There are leadership skills, faith, kindness and compassion, etc. BUT all of them will spring forth from the above. I hope I'm good enough.