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Last Updated on August 30, 2016 by Diane Hoffmaster
Thankyou to ManCave for sponsoring this post about parenting teens. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Before I had kids I knew that I wanted to have a boy first, then a girl. I had it all planned out....the older boy child would protect and care for his little sister and they would love each other unconditionally. Um....yeah, right! God is up there laughing at me right now for my stupidity! Sure, I got the boy first and then the girl. And that is where my dreams come to a screeching halt. As a small boy, he could have cared less about his annoying little sister unless she happened to be touching something of his. Once they hit elementary school they would play side by side fairly regularly as long as my daughter didn't touch his stuff. Now as teens the boy child is constantly complaining that his sister keeps touching his stuff. Are you seeing a theme here? Peace in this household has been achieved by making sure we have twice as much 'stuff' as we really need just so there is no fighting over it. I have discovered that parenting teens is remarkably similar to parenting toddlers except that time outs don't work so well with teenagers.
Parenting teens is tough. They aren't little kids any more but they have remarkably poor judgement. Sheer stupidity would prevent most teenage boys from surviving in the wild. "Lets see what happens when we try to jump over this really deep gorge just to impress that female over there..." So much for THAT one! Cave-mom won't be worrying about parenting teens any more.
So, how do we go about parenting teens without letting on to the fact that we are actually trying to give them advice, keep them healthy, find out who their friends are, or in any way trying to understand their complicated lives? I have not discovered all the secrets to parenting teens yet (oh, I would be so rich!) but here are a few of the things I have figured out so far:
1. Do not nag at them to eat healthy. They will just roll their eyes as they shovel in more junk food. Instead, randomly leave healthy things on the counter to eat. Preferably with dip. Try not to buy too much junk. And find a good hiding spot for the junk you really want to eat yourself.
2. Remove the temptation of stupidity. Whether this is limiting their access to the internet and social media or limiting how much unsupervised time they get with friends I am a firm believer in limits. Now, you don't want them to be hermits but pick and choose their freedoms wisely. My kids get access to Instagram and Pinterest but not Facebook. Randomly dropping them off for a few hours at the mall isn't going to happen until I trust that they won't be running backwards up the escalator. Poor decision making skills meant death for cave-boy but could mean a trip to jail for teens today. Which could then LEAD to death once I got my hands on him. I joke, honestly! But if my kid ever ends up in custody at the local jail he is darn well going to stay there for a while. And don't feel bad about stalking their online profiles. Or reading their texts or checking out their browsing history. Honestly, if they are doing nothing wrong, that's great. But, you may just find something serious going on that requires adult (or police!) assistance!
Parenting Teens with Stealth
3. Encourage proper grooming with subtly. Asking my son 'Hey hon, have you washed your face recently because your acne is starting to get bad' is a sure way to have him ticked off and slamming his bedroom door. But, investing in a nice set of bath and body products and leaving them randomly sitting on the bathroom counter is bound to peak his curiosity and get him washing. And if you have both boys AND girls like I do it is vital that they have their own 'stuff' to use. My teenage son gets annoyed when he smells like flowers and vanilla cupcakes after his shower. I try to tell him that he will smell irresistible to the teenage girls but I don't think I have convinced him yet.
The MANCAVE grooming products that I received to review were a big hit with the teenage boy. No more smelling like cupcakes and flowers and with a ton of natural ingredients it doesn't leave him stinking of artificial chemical smells. They have no parabens, sulphates (SLS SLES), synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, ingredients from animal sources and are not tested on animals. They include delicious ingredients like Pepper Oil, Cedarwood and Shea Butter. Product range includes deodorants, face washes, moisturizers, and hair products. There is no mistaking these products for 'girl' beauty products which means his sister won't be touching HIS stuff! One less fight I have to hear in the morning while they get ready for school!
If you are parenting teens try to keep in mind that many of them are still struggling with good decision making skills and while they may not WANT your interference they still need it. Otherwise they are going to try to jump that ravine just to impress their friends which rarely ends well. Be stealthy when parenting teens but remember that they need parental guidance whether they want it or not!
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.
Thanks for the wise words, even now with my kids years away from teens, sometimes simply dropping a hint works way better than a head on approach. I'll file it away for later use too!
I have found that my teens think they know EVERYTHING so the less I try to actually TELL them the better!