Not too long ago, I was talking to a good friend of mine and she wasn’t being herself. After keeping me in suspense for almost an hour, I just couldn’t take it anymore and asked her if there was something bothering her. To my surprised, she said these exact words… “I don’t know if I like my kids anymore. They are driving me insane.” I was very surprised to hear her saying that, but I have to admit that I kind of felt her pain. I also have kids; specifically, three grumpy and unpleasable teenagers, and I feel like even when I love them to death, there are occasions when I don’t like them. Harsh words right? I know, but that’s the ugly and, in most cases, untold story of parents dealing with teenagers.
If you are one of those parents who sometimes feel like you don’t like you kids for the things they do and/or say, don’t feel bad, because you are not alone. The good thing is that as bad as everything looks now, there is light at the end of that tunnel. Soon, as they pass that ugly phase, those rare creatures called teenagers will start acting like normal human beings again and everything will go back to normal.
In the meantime, below I will share with you four useful tips to help you deal with that horrendous teenage phase that is driving you insane and start reconnecting with your children today.
Tip One: Establish concise rules. This is very important piece of advice. Trying to raise children without having established rules could feel like trying to navigate without a map. You know you want to get to that particular place, but don’t know how to get there. That being said; never try to “navigate” throughout parenthood without a map. This not only will help you in keeping your life and the lives of your children organized based on your beliefs and priorities but also will give you that little piece of mind that you need when trying to guide your teenagers to become productive and responsible citizens.
Tip Two: Stop fighting with them. Yes, I said it. Fighting with your teenager won’t get you anywhere. Instead, it will put a string in the relationship you are trying to build with them. Believe me; I learned this the hard way. If you want to get a message across, talk to them instead; but don’t fight with them. I can tell you that If you do that; you will be wasting your time. Remember; in their mind, they are never wrong so fighting will not make a difference because at the end, they will still think that you are wrong and that they are right.
Tip Three: Listen to them and show empathy for their issues. Another great piece of advice. When your children take time away from their busy “teenage schedule” to actually talk to you (and believe me… with teenagers; that doesn’t happen very often); please, LISTEN to them. It doesn’t matter how busy you are. Stop whatever is that you are doing and listen. They will feel more connected to you if they know you are listening to their concerns. And not only that; also make sure they know you empathize with them. Those two things, my dear friends, will be the key to get them to lower the barriers that are keeping them isolated from you.
Tip Four: Be there for them no matter how bad things are between you all. As simple as that. Be there for them no matter what. At the end of the day, they are still a part of you so, either you are there for them, or someone else will.
There you have it, my friends. Sometimes, teenagers could be very difficult individuals to deal with, but if you understand that their weird and crazy behavior is part of them growing up and not what defines them as a person, your chances of staying sane during the whole ordeal could be 10 times better than if you just try to win every battle or situation that comes your way. Believe me; it will get worse before it gets better, so ride that horse as long as you can. At the end, you will see that it was totally worth it.