Things to know if you love a teen
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.
Their social lives and ours are completely different because of social media. We were lucky if a phone in the house had a cord long enough to reach around the corner into the bathroom. We were really lucky to have your own extension in our room. These kids have phones from a very young age, and everything takes place on them.
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.
Be okay with how your teen does no matter what. In a play, but not the lead? That’s okay. On a basketball team, but not a starter? That’s okay too. Your teen dating someone who isn’t what you pictured? It’s okay.
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!
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Have you read my book? College Bound: The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School Here is a blog post that goes along with the book with even more things to know if you love a teenager!