Are you exhausted from your whining, wheedling teenager? What is your teen wanting you to say “yes” to? It takes a lot of strength to say “no” in the face of major teen drama-and there will be drama if you use that BAD word. Stick to your guns, and just say no to your teen-they might thank you later! *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
There are so many things your teen might be asking… Going out is probably the biggest one I can think of. Here are the questions that you will have: Who will they be with? Where are they going? Who will be driving? Will they be going anywhere else? Will the parents be there? Will there be drinking or drugs?
The questions are endless. “Can I…” -you fill in the blank.
Here are three ways it’s hard to say no to a teenager.
Stage 1: Your teen will be very sweet and/or uber reasonable. Say no!
Stage 2: Your teen will mope. Say no!
Stage 3: Your teen will try to intimidate you with his anger. Say no!
Ways to Make Saying “No” Easier!
Have clear boundaries.
I recommend having very few rules. If you have a lot of family rules, look them over. Condense them down. Make them crystal clear. We have two rules in our house. Here is my blog post about discipline. If you have few rules and they are concise, then there is less chance for your teen to try to wiggle around them.
When our kids were younger, we really worked on obedience and respect. This helped as they became teenagers. If you have had a lot of rules, your teen might appreciate a new, fresh approach from you.
Time for self-management.
This is a time for you to start letting your teen begin to manage themselves. Contracts are great conversation starters, and writing them can be really freeing. One thing that we learned in the process of using these, is once we have shared our non-negotiables, our boys have written contracts that were much stricter than what we would have written! The final product has to be agreed upon and signed by all parties.
If the contract is broken, your teen has to face the consequences which have been written and agreed upon at an earlier date. (Don’t get crazy with this! A piece of paper and a pen is enough to get started.) Here is a link to what a contract with your child is all about.
The best part about this time for your teen, is that, as your teen begins to try new things and have new experiences, they can prove to you that they are responsible. Eventually, contracts can be amended, lessened, and eventually eliminated!
One of our boys never had a curfew because he never pushed it, and we trusted him. Our next son had a very strict one for quite awhile because he kept pushing it. Every kid and every situation is different, so you may not have the exact same rules for each kid, and that is okay. You are the parent, and you do not have to explain yourself!
The other piece of this is flexibility. Teens will present you with all sorts of new parenting issues-welcome to the seven year challenge called parenting teens!
As new situations arise, you may not be ready to make a decision right away. Our answer to this has always been, “This is a new situation, we need to think about this first.” This has saved us many times!
We used this when they wanted to ride with a new older friend who could drive. We used this when they wanted to get new apps on their phones. We used this when one of them snuck a friend into our house while we were gone…
Stay clear of the drama.
Teens are all about drama! I only have boys and can assure you that they are dramatic in their own way! I have been a teacher of preschool, elementary and middle school for more than 20 years, and so, I know about girl drama as well!
The arsenal of teen histrionics is deep and wide. Teens will use whining, moping, angry behavior meant to intimidate us, and on and on… Do not cave in.
I have used a Josh Shipp quote before, but I love it and will use it again here. He said, “Teenagers will test you to see if you, like the lap bar on a roller coaster will hold.” They need to know if you are “steady and safe” and if your love for them will “hold”. This is truth! But, boy, is it hard!
The best way to stay on track with your teen, to know who their friends are, to know what is happening in your teen’s life is to talk with them. Schedule conversations. At the minimum, once a month. We always had longer more serious conversations around grade time. This was whether they had good or bad grades. Goals could be made at this time, and conversation about their plans for the future.
Monthly or even weekly talks can be scheduled as well. It can be as easy as checking in with everyone on Sunday night to fill in the calendar. Don’t overwhelm your teen with big topics, and remember to listen and ask thought-provoking questions to scratch beneath the surface occasionally. Let you teen lead the way more and more often.
Do not talk down to your teen. Do not talk them to death. Listen. Have a conversation. Respect their opinion even if it makes no sense, and many times it won’t. Don’t point out their errors. Agree to walk away and come back if things get heated. Your teen wants ( and needs) to be heard.
We ask that they respect us, but we need to give the same in return. Let them know the questions and concerns that you have about a new situation. Tell your teen if these questions can be answered satisfactorily, then your answer might change to maybe or even to a “yes”. This change can only occur if the answers are provided in a timely manner, and in a way that satisfies all.
This can mean many things!
Talk with your spouse or significant other about as many topics ahead of time as possible. As you hear of other family’s circumstances, talk things over, and make a plan together. A teen can sense any type of weakness, and will use all the tools in their wheedling toolkit to get what they want.
Talk with your friends. Have any of them experienced your current issue? It’s great to have a mentor with an older teen who may have already experienced certain problems before. If possible make a pact with your teen’s friends’ parents to watch out for behaviors and to communicate with one another as problems occur.
Finally, know that you are in charge. It can be exhausting both mentally and physically, so take care of yourself! Go out on a date with yourself, your spouse or significant other. Take a quick nap. Give yourself mercy because we all make mistakes, and you will too. It’s okay to change your mind, just stay the course!
5 Steps to Avoid Losing Your Cool With Your Young Adult
It’s tough to remember exactly where the burning sensation started. Perhaps I mistook it for a hot flash. Before I knew it, I was excusing myself from the room, muttering something to my husband about this being HIS son. My good friend Shannon Hale at www.skiptomylife.com has kindly written this guest post letting us know how to avoid losing your coolwith your young adults. She has some great ideas!
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When Your Darling Child Comes Home From College…
What could my rising freshman possibly have said to stir such emotion, just moments after hugs and welcome-homes from his first year at college? I’m going to tell you. Because even though I’m not usually a betting kind of gal, I’d be willing to place cash on the barrel that you will hear some version of these two sentences come from the lips of your sweet child in the coming weeks:
“You never knew what I was doing when I was away at school. Why do I have to tell you where I am now that I’m home”?
How to avoid losing your cool with your young adults
Whether you’re launching a graduate or welcoming one home this summer, the routine you’ve settled into over the school year is sure to change in the coming days. And, surprise! The dynamics between you and your young adult may have morphed more than either of you are expecting.
Learn from me, friends, and top off the volcano of unrealistic expectations before it erupts. Just a little planning on your part and a short discussion with your student can make the difference between a frustrating summer and one you’ll cherish for years to come. Don’t worry; I’ll walk you through this process step-by-step.
Living with young adults feels a little like walking a tightrope over the Grand Canyon. It takes a lot of balancing to trust our kid on one side while requiring their personal responsibility on the other. That balancing act can leave us, as parents, a bit wobbly. Add to this the fear of major repercussions for slipping too far to either side, and we are quickly set up for a very stressful summer.
Avoid Summer Slump
“Summer Slump” is the term coined to describe the post-semester blues that result from a combination of factors: change in daily routine, distance from friends, and unforeseen conflict in family and romantic relationships. About 1 in 3 students described themselves as depressed as a result of this phenomenon.
As the busyness of the school year comes to a screeching halt, don’t be left frantically navigating how your teen will fill their summer days. Take just 30 minutes to talk through some simple strategies and set a plan in motion, and you’ll see major pay-off in the coming months. Here’s how you’ll spend that half hour.
5 tips to AVOID losing your cool with your young adult this summer
1. Get out the calendar
Young adults are notorious for misunderstanding time constraints. Pull out the calendar and start by figuring out just how many weeks are unaccounted for this summer. It may be fewer than you, or your student, think.
Next step: post any dates that are already scheduled, such as family vacations, weddings, deadlines and social events. These events will serve to break up the perception of monotony of the months stretching before your student.
Give your student permission to dream about what they’d like to do this summer. During my son’s last summer before college, he and his cousin organized a cross-country road trip to see their favorite band.
Although I was tempted to say “absolutely not” when he first presented the idea, the planning and responsibility he showed won me over. Put a lock on your lips and just listen. You may be surprised to see a new side of your kid.
Once they’ve had their say, it’s time for mom and dad to share their dreams for the summer. This might include something as simple as visiting the local snow cone stand or as epic as a major bike ride. Your summer will be so much more fun if you don’t lose your cool with your young adult!
3. Discuss guidelines
Learn from my mistakes, my wonderful friends. Don’t assume your student knows what you expect from them this summer. You are making the transition from parenting to coaching, from living with your child to living with another adult.
It’s tough. It’s awkward. But we can do this. Setting simple guidelines about household chores, curfew, communication, use of car- will keep you from so many rolling eyeballs and slammed doors.
Remember that they have, indeed, kept themselves from dying over the last several months. Give them credit and very generous limits.
I grew up in a home with one bathroom. Not one full bath and one half bath- one toilet, one sink, one shower. So many battles could have been avoided and so many tears could have been saved had we just sat down and figured out a schedule. But then my sisters and I wouldn’t have near the stories to tell, right?
4. Provide options
In the event that your teen’s answer to question 2 is “play video games on the couch”, here’s some help. You, dear parent, will come to this conversation armed with some ideas for summer options. Here is the beauty of taking 30 minutes to have this planning session in early summer versus waiting until mid-July.
As you probably know, but your teen may not, now is the time to apply for and pursue a summer job, schedule an internship, or sign up for summer classes. I know, I know, you’re afraid this revelation will push your already-overwhelmed kid into overload. But here’s where your pre-work will pay off.
Show them support by offering to temporarily take something off their plate so they can have a couple of hours to fill out an application online or schedule a meeting with a local business owner.
5. Celebrate and model self-care
Summer is a great time for students to catch up on sleep, get into better eating habits or start an exercise program. But we can’t very well encourage them to do those things if we’re not doing them ourselves.
Now that another school year is in the books, push the easy button and set aside some time for summer planning with your student. You’ll be glad you did when fall rolls around and you’re waving goodbye once again.
Thanks to Shannon for all the great ideas for ideas on how to avoid losing your cool with your young adults. This is our first summer that our boys are NOT coming home, and that is a whole other story!
If you’re here, then you must have a teenager in your life. Loving a teen is wonderful, challenging, frustrating, and often super exhausting. There are a few things that you need to know if you love a teenager.
Hang in there! Know that you can do this!
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Your teen won’t always like you back.
Hello, welcome to hell! Not always, but many days it feels like this to many of us.
Anger is an easy emotion for teens to (not) manage, and they will always hurt the ones they love the most. They know we aren’t going anywhere, so eye-rolling, horrible tone of voice, and slamming doors are all too common many days.
Remember that they are dealing with raging hormones, stress at school, and many social issues that are confusing. *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
You cannot take it personally.
This goes right along with your teen not liking you right now. Develop a thick skin because you will need it for the next few years. It is really hard not to get your feelings hurt by the things that your teen says and does. Eventually, you will both come out on the other side.
Do not hold grudges. Half of the time your teen won’t even remember being an a%#@*&%. The other half of the time they will wonder why we are so upset with them—seriously?!!
This is by far the hardest thing to know if you love a teenager in my opinion.
Don’t assume that you know anything about their life.
Even though we were once teenagers ourselves, it is different now. There is some similarity, for instance, the emotions, but that is pretty much where any likeness ends.
Because of social media, everything else in our kids’ lives is very different than our teenage lives were.
Choose your battles.
This is really hard especially if you like to be in control. I know I struggle with this! The moods of a teen are unpredictable to say the least. Be prepared for anything, and, for me, I know lots of deep breaths are helpful–but be sure to take these breaths quietly or you will offend your teen even more!
If you can ignore something without losing your authority, then let it go. I have gotten really good at pretending not to hear some things. But, again, be careful, because if your teen thinks that you are ignoring them, that can really annoy them to no end. Also, try not to nag…
Parenting a teen is like walking a razor blade embedded tightrope. Be super careful!
Do not pressure them to perform.
Witnessing parents who are really hard on their kids is very uncomfortable. This is something that we have seen so many times over the years. It is difficult to watch, and I am sure for those teens, really hard to live through.
Of course, your teen should try to do their best. They should always strive to do better. But, not being “the best” at something is totally normal, and being normal is very okay. If they are participating, happy, involved, and have good relationships then they are more than okay-they are doing great!
Be physically available.
This is so important! Even if you just had a fight. Even if you both just totally lost it about something really stupid, they still need to know you are around and available. I still hug my boys every chance that I get. Sometimes I have to put their arms around my waist and ask for them to hold on, but I will take what I can get!
Tonight, my gangly almost fifteen year old was restless on the couch. I asked if he would cuddle for a few minutes. Guess what?! He came over and crawled under my blanket for almost 30 minutes! It was the best, especially since most of them time when I ask, the answer is a strongly worded no.
Build a support system.
This one is for you! Find your tribe. Find those people in your life that are in the same boat, or maybe even a little ahead of you on their parenting journey. Find someone who will lift you up, listen to your current woes, and tell you that it will be all right. It might be another mom that you can grab a coffee with or a friend from college that you text and call all the time.
My four besties/roommates from college have been my support system for years. Hardly a day passes that one of us doesn’t throw something out into our group message, and I am so much better for these connections.
Loving a teen definitely has its ups and downs.
Hang in there. Give you teen space and time to figure things out. Give yourself grace, and know that this too shall pass! You got through the toddler years and potty training and you can definitely get through this. I think mothering teens is harder than mothering a toddler, although at the time, toddlers seem so hard!
The early teen years are the hardest, so set your rules and know that they will push against them and rebel in big and small ways. That’s their job. Your job is to stand firm.
Take lots of deep breaths and count to 100 if you need to. Know that many other parents are going through the same thing right now, so find someone that you can relate to and support. These are just a few things to know if you love a teenager!
*I’m in the process of reading U Thrive: How to Succeed in College (and Life) written by Daniel Lerner and Alan Schlechter, MD. They teach a course at NYU on the “Science of Happiness” which is one of the most sought after courses on campus. Their book is chock full of positive parenting techniques!
It’s a “how to” guide for thriving in college and beyond. I think that it will also help me improve my parenting techniques, a win-win! *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
Yes, positive psychology is all around us and it’s probably because our culture is thirsty for it. But, let me say, by page 30, I was hooked. This book really should be used in our schools. But, schools don’t really have a class on how to be happy, so it falls on us, the parents to teach them how to make choices that will improve their mindset.
(This was written by my former blog partner, Ann, so don’t get confused when she mentions a daughter!)
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Parenting is hard!
As you know, parenting is the hardest job ever and there is no real “how to” book. So, even though this book is focusing on thriving in college, it is definitely transferable to parenting. While reading, I thought to myself, “I wish I knew this when I was my kids were younger”.
Wait I still can! Even though my kids are 22, 19, and 15, and I’m in my mid-50’s, I can honestly say, this book can really help everyone, no matter what stage of life you’re in. I don’t think it’s ever too late to be better at your relationships.
As I read this book, I’ll let you know my “takeaways”! Here’s are the first 5 positive parenting techniques from Chapter 1.
Raise your mood before every opportunity or challenge by thinking about something positive for 30 seconds. I told my daughter, Kelly, to try this before taking her tests during finals week.
She looked at me kinda weird and asked me why? I quoted from pg. 18 “Positive emotions prime you to perform your best”. In the book, they continue, “Good feelings are a fantastic learning aid: they help you retain more information and stay on the ball in group discussions; they improve your test scores and your grades; they boost resilience and help you deal with stress more effectively”.
So Kelly tried it, she thought of a funny memory that made her laugh and thought about it before she took a test. Kelly told me, “It was so much easier, I wasn’t focusing on how hard it was going to be. I just breezed through it. And it felt good!”
The end result- she got a B on her math test. It worked.
Focus on the Good!
Tell your kids 3 things they did well and 3 places to grow (or less according to Kelly). In the book, they detail a story of a student who only heard negative feedback from his theatre professor. The student had a hard time believing in anything he was doing well. He had lost his confidence.
Lerner and Schlecter (authors of the book), suggested to the student to ask his teacher to tell him what he was doing right. The professor agreed to do this. The student then started his own peer group to share feedback together on 3 things they were doing well and 3 things they each needed to work on.
Hmm. Could I do this as a parent? Sure, and would have, but I can tell you I didn’t. I was always asking my girls, “Hey did you do this?” I was focused on what they may have missed not what they did well.
Ugh. I had focused on what they could have done better, which unfortunately doesn’t recognize what they were/are doing well.
My takeaway on this is no matter where you are in your parenting journey, focus on 3 good things and according to my daughter only 1 or 2 things where they can grow. Much better parenting technique! Also, better message for our kids!
Write Down Why You’re Grateful
Write down daily what you’re grateful for and why they matter. The theory behind the gratitude journal is it “qualifies” your positive emotions which can translate to higher GPA, better social relationships, better sleep and less depression.
When you make a habit to scan for the good things during your day, it rewires your brain. So keep a journal or a gratitude jar and slips of paper next to your bed. Write down 3 things that bring joy that day and put them in the jar.
This is what I do, and I’m looking forward to seeing to the end of the year when I can reflect on all the things that brought me happiness.
Perform Random Acts of Kindnessconsciously (pg. 29)- A little difference here is that you are thinking about what you can do nice for someone else AHEAD of time. This act gives you a boost of happiness that can last for months.
It isn’t so much about being proud of yourself as it is to focus on how it made you feel- ask yourself, “What did I do today that was kind and how did it feel?” Replay the scene in your head.
What Makes You Happy?
Pay attention to what makes you happy. This is such a great idea! We can all do this, but for those of you with younger teens, ask them what they’re interested in. This is a crucial step in figuring out a potential career. Have them experiment with different classes, extra-curricular activities or even job shadow.
For us moms, it’s never too late to pay attention to what lights you up. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to start a blog. I have a B.A. in Communications and never did anything with it. This blog allows me to rekindle my skills and learn how it’s done today.
So what makes you happy? What makes you feel good or what activities do participate in that you don’t even notice that time has passed? Take the time to really think about this, and try to add something into your day that will make you smile. It will make you happier, AND improve your parenting techniques!
Here are some things I’m learning and loving in the month of September, “Smart Parents” that I think might help you. I talk about a few things that I am learning and loving in my life right now. This includes recipes, books, movies and gadgets, etc. Here are some ideas for parents of teens in September.
Please know that I am thinking of you in these hard days, and will try to find fun and useful things to share with you each month!
Let me know what you think! *This post may contain affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.
Angel Shots– have you heard of these? A bar owner has figured out a way to help women who need it while they are there in the bar. If a date has gone bad or a woman feels threatened or whatever… There’s a sign up in the women’s bathroom telling what to order for each particular situation. I hope that this catches on everywhere!
John McCain died in 2018. Did you know that he wrote us all a letter? Here it is, and we should all read it and take it to heart no matter our political beliefs.
Do you have a pet that pees in your house? Ugggh! But, I just learned about this awesome product that my girlfriend swears by!! I ordered a bottle, and it is awesome! With our puppy, this has been a lifesaver! Grab it here!
This book has made the biggest difference in my life over this summer. I read it back in June, and I have used the countdown ever since! It is really the simplest concept, and I’m so glad that I read it. Sometimes you just don’t want to get out of bed, or clean a certain mess, or even go to the grocery store-I don’t mind the shopping, but hate the putting away after. Anyone else have this problem?
Read this book, you will get so much done! There is a journal that goes along with it, that I really want to order!
A post about books for parenting teens are is here.
We all love this show! This is another docu-series, which we have enjoyed over this past summer. The show follows four doctors throughout their days in their jobs. The two men are neurosurgeons, and the two women are and ER doc and a fourth year resident specializing in OB-GYN.
All four of these doctors are such good people. As the show progresses, you get to know each of the doctors and their staff, and even a few of their patients that are repeat visitors. There is very little gore, you never see babies being born, just the babies. You do see a little bit of some brains, but they are all so passionate about what they are seeing, that it is interesting. If you do get a little squeamish, just know that each of these few scenes only last about a minute at the most. Here is a link to the series trailer…
This movie is so interesting. Winston Churchill was such a force of nature. He affected so much of our history. This movie brings it all to life, and you really get to know him as a man. If you live in central Missouri, don’t miss out on the amazing museum in Fulton! It’s on the campus of Westminster College. Churchill once spoke there-he gave his famous Iron Curtain speech, and the museum is fabulous! There’s even part of the Berlin Wall on display as well.
These are great for when you have a learning driver in your house. The 3-pack is great, one for each of your cars and maybe grandma’s car, too!
Quote -“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” – JK Rowling / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. (Which season is your favorite? I love fall!)