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parenting teenagers

I’M NOT OK, BUT I THINK IT’S OK

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I suffer from mummy guilt.  Heck I suffer from all kinds of guilt to be honest.  There are days when all I seem to do is work extremely hard to gain perfection, even if it runs me in to the ground.  I often chase my tail with this quest for perfection.  I berate myself for not doing enough.  I wonder why I can’t be the perfect parent, have a spotless house, redecorate the house.  And so the list goes.

 

Not surprisingly, research has shown that beating myself up doesn’t work.  It has also shown that perfection doesn’t work either.  These might seem obvious but when I’m in the middle of feeling these things, I often dismiss everything else.

 

In my attempt to move away for this guilt I am trying to work on it.  I am trying to acknowledge the guilt when it raises its ugly head and then let it go.  I have started to work on this and it is tough.  Making a conscious decision to even acknowledge the guilt is so difficult but I know so much will improve if I continue to do this.

 

 

 

I honestly don’t know why I try and be a super-parent.  Do you?  I guess acknowledging that I’m not ok, acknowledging the guilt and releasing surely will have a positive impact on my parenting.

 

Giving myself permission to make mistakes is something I’m not used to but it’s something that I know must be continued.  I need to let go of trying to be perfect.

 

I need to get back to appreciating time spent with my family and stop worrying about the little things (like untidy bedrooms!).  After all, my family means so much to me, being with them is a pleasure.  Things go much more smoothly when I’m in a happier mood.  My kids also feel the benefits.

 

I know dealing with guilt will be an ongoing exercise but I’m sure over time it will become easier.

 

 

Do you suffer from mummy guilt?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

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Health / Relationships

HOW 30 MINUTES A DAY CAN HELP YOU CONNECT TO YOUR TEEN

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Round our dinner table is the perfect opportunity for us to relive what has happened during the day.  It’s where we can discuss our achievements, our dreams and have a laugh.

 

You can probably gather that the best way to make that connection with your teen is having dinner together. Research has shown that kids who eat dinner together with family members are less likely to be involved in drugs or alcohol or indeed suffer from depression.

 

Having dinner together on a regular basis is important and I would encourage you to do it and stay connected or help reconnect with your teen.

Here are my top tips to help you get started.

 

  • Turn off your TV & Smart Phones

    We give so much attention to the TV and our smart phones these days.  It’s important to protect family time together.  So prioritise having dinner together as a family after all the world will still be there after 30 minutes!

  • It’s not just about the food

    You don’t have to knock your pan in to cook the ‘perfect’ meal.  Pick an easy recipe and get everyone to help out.  This is especially important if you’ve been working all day or are exhausted.

  • Remember to listen

    Do you know that your teenager wants to talk to you?  Remember to listen to what your teenager has to say. Don’t offer advice unless you are asked.  I know it is difficult as a parent not to go in to advice mode but it does make for a better relationship if you hold off until asked and just listen.

 

  • Make it fun

    It doesn’t have to be a serious chat if it isn’t needed.  Take turns to select music or choose dessert.  It really doesn’t matter as long as you chat and spend time together.

 

  • Make a plan

    Agree on which nights will be family nights to have dinner.  Protect those nights too.  Of course plans can change but make this a priority for all the family and don’t miss this important time.

 

So do you have family meal times?  I’d love to hear how you stay connected to your teen.

 

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Communication

4 WAYS TO SAY CONNECTED TO YOUR TEEN

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It can be difficult to stay connected to your teen as they grow and become more independent.  The relationship we as parents once had is different especially as they grow from being a child to a teen and that can take some getting used to!  I know this from experience – it took me a while to realise that my kids still needed me but in a different way.

 

For me, it was and continues to be extremely important to stay connected and communication on a regular basis with my teenager.  Below are 4 ways I’m attempting to stay connected to my boys.  I hope these tips help you stay connected too.

 

Ask questions AND listen

There are times when my teen just doesn’t want to communicate but it’s important that I show him how much I’m interested in what he does.  I often ask how his day at school has been and I also ensure I pay close attention to his answer.  I often give him my undivided attention.  It’s counter productive if you ask a question and don’t listen or sit on your phone while your teen is talking.

 

Watch movies or a TV programme together

We do this as a family – we watch the Walking Dead and when that’s on a break we watch a movie.  I feel it is extremely important to spend time together and watching a TV programme or movie and discussing it afterwards is an excellent way of doing this.  It also gives my a way of forgetting about the stress of homework or exams that may be coming up!

 

 

Doing Chores together

There are chores I hate to do, and chores I know both my kids hate to do.  I try and do some of these together.  For example my tween and I mowed the lawn the other day together.  It was a great way to bond and it’s a great lesson to show how to maintain a home!

 

 

Give them a Hug everyday & remind them you love them

It can be difficult to get your teen to hug you but I highly recommend it!  It’s important for us as a family to hug each other every day and to express how much we love each other.  This is a great way of bolstering your teens self-esteem and a hug also helps you relieve stress!

 

Are you finding it difficult to communicate with your teen?  I’d love to hear your views.

 

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Communication

6 SECRETS EVERY PARENT SHOULD KNOW ABOUT TEENAGERS

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Teenagers can be a mystery at times and as a mummy to two lovely boys, one is a teenager, the other a tween, life can be fun!

 

Approaching the teen years my hubby and I were a little scared to say the least but we have found that friction between teens and parents is not inevitable.

 

If you take time to read up on what your teenager’s body is going through and why they act the way they do then you too can take courage knowing it doesn’t have to be scary.

 

Of course, we are not perfect parents but we have tried our best to be honest, open and loving so that the teenage years allows our son to find his way in the world and define his own path with the honest answers to questions he asks.

 

We let him know how much we value his opinions, how much we respect his views even when there are times we don’t agree with them.

 

I hope the following 6 ‘secrets’ help you on your parenting journey as your child reaches the teen years.

 

A teenager looks grown-up but they are not

The part of the brain to do with planning and organising is very much unfinished during the teen years.  This is the reason so many teenagers become distracted or forgetful during this period.  Knowing this will give you as a parent the empathy to guide your teenager during this time rather than shouting at how forgetful they are being – truth is they really can’t help it!

 

No matter how much you feed them, it is never enough!

The teenage body is developing more during this period than at any other stage of life so this growing and developing requires a lot of nutrients, hence more often than not teenagers eat more during this period.  Of course every teenager is different but this has been our experience.

 

Teenagers are messy

What can I say; it is a fact of teenage life.  This often goes for both girls and boys in my experience.  Again this is emblematic of the teenage years and is a personal disorganisation brought about by the growing and as mentioned about the part of the brain to do with planning and organising being unfinished.  Of course the untidy room will drive you as a parent nuts but my advice is to relax – it is not an affront to your own personal domestic prowess nor is it about disrespecting you as a parent – it is simply a fact of teenage life.  My advice is not to allow the messy room to become a power struggle between yourself and your teenager.  Instead make it part of earning extra money for extra chores but remember – give them one task at a time!

 

Teenagers want to be understood

There are times when teenagers want to be left alone, they throw out words such as stay out of my business or leave me alone.  While there are times your teenager does need space they do however want their parents to know how they are feeling and what drives them.  Teenagers will continue to challenge you as a parent but remember this is all part of them growing up and finding out who they are.  My advice is to stop and listen to your teenager, be patient and you will learn more about your teenager than you ever thought possible.

 

 

Teenagers are under a lot of strain from peer pressure

There are times when I laugh this off but it is serious for teenagers. Peer pressure is a big thing in their life – from school, from friends.  It is important to steer your teenager through the peer pressure but do it with a bit of sensitivity.  I’ve found involving your teenagers in a club or sport will divert their attention at times.  I would also encourage you to praise your teenager as much as possible which will encourage them to continue to do the action they are being praised for.

 

Teenagers are night owls and not early birds

There are times when teenagers won’t go to bed at a reasonable hour and of course you can’t then get them up in the morning.  Did you know there is a biological basis for this?  During the teen years the circadian clock is programmed differently from adults – it is usually about 3 or 4 hours difference.  So don’t worry about this it will pass but as a parent you should be aware that your teenager may be grumpy and sleep deprived so perhaps if they argue with you it has nothing to do with you at all just the mood your teenager is in.

 

I do hope you have found these tips helpful.  There is no manual on how to raise children, but as parents we try our best to understand how our children act as they do.  We also try to guide, love and cherish them through all stages of their lives.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on raising teenagers.

 

Lisa x

 

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Communication