This is part of my monthly series on Parenting Teenagers.
There have been some tough parenting moments with the teenager over the last month. While the teenager has not had model behaviour, on reflection there are two key things I could be doing better.
I have mentioned before, how I have found having a teenager in the house very similar to having a toddler. Like a toddler does as they strive out for independence, the teenager is constantly pushing the boundaries.
In response to the constant push to the boundaries from him comes my pushing back. I think I have been pushing back too much on too many things. Like I did with the toddler I need to accept that this is a stage and focus on what are the key behaviours I want to stay consistent with and let some of the other stuff go:
- I have accepted he spends too much on junk food. He knows how I feel about it, but I have just stopped commenting and this is working better. Commenting on it wasn’t changing his behaviour, it was just causing issues between us. In fact, I think since I have stopped commenting he has backed off a bit on what he was spending.
- I need to accept that he will only get ready for something with the absolute minimal time needed. He is happy to put his footy boots and shin pads on in the car as we drive to soccer training. Trying to ask him (nag him!) to get ready in advance just causes us both angst.
- I have accepted that he likes to use what I call school yard language. I now just ask that he doesn’t use it in front of the younger kids or when he is angry with me.
- I need to accept how important technology is to him and find better ways to manage the how much and when he can use it.
When you have someone constantly pushing the boundaries, it can sometimes be hard to see the good things they do! And he does do great things and he is helpful to me:
- He is at an age now where I can leave the younger kids with him for short periods of time, which is super helpful.
- When I am going out with the other kids and he is going to be home, he will ask me what he can do while I am away.
- He will run errands for me when asked.
- He is also very funny. I enjoy his sense of humour and wit.
I need to make sure I let him know these things on a regular basis. The positive to negative comments ratio needs to improve on my behalf and will definitely be the focus for the next month.
What have you worked out about parenting this month?