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Last Updated on February 4, 2019 by Diane Hoffmaster
Raising teenagers is incredibly challenging. It is both a joy and a struggle on a daily basis. You must find a balance between loving the heck out of them and navigating a minefield. Learning the art of compromise will help ease your parenting problems as you raise teenagers in a complicated society. I thought I would share a few things I have learned over the years of parenting teenagers in my own home.
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Raising Teenagers and the Art of Compromise
When my children were little, I had complete control over their lives. I must admit, I sort of liked it that way. I told them what to wear, when to go to sleep, and what to eat whenever they uttered the magic words of "I'm Hungry". Thankfully, they had no problem with my complete and total dominion over their existence.
Well, guess what? babies grow into toddlers who grow into preschooler who (in the blink of an eye!) turn into teenagers. Raising teenagers is a completely different ballgame than any other phase of our children's lives. They have developed OPINIONS along with the acne and hormones.
My Tips for Parenting Teens
Raising teens is somewhat like taming a wild animal. You need to pick your battles wisely if you are going to come out of the experience without scars. In an effort to survive the teenage years without causing myself or my children severe emotional issues, I have learned that the art of compromise is an important parenting tool. Here are a few teenage parenting tips to keep in mind:
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Think Before You Speak:
Ask yourself if the idea proposed by your teenager will have long term effects on their health and happiness. If not, ask yourself how important it is that you take a stand on your decision.
I struggled with this one when my daughter wanted to start shaving. I really thought she was too young but finally told myself that allowing her to shave was not going to hurt (provided she learned how to use the razor properly!). It was a battle that she won but thankfully there are no particularly scary consequences to early shaving of legs!
Give them freedom in controlled situations:
I am not a huge fan of letting groups of teenagers roam around unattended. Like herds of cattle they are often drawn into trouble by not comprehending the possible outcomes of their bad choices.
Make sure you know who your teens will be going out with. Get a detailed plan if possible. A group of 10 teens roaming the streets at 11 PM may not be a great idea. However, sitting in a movie theater with friends without adult supervision isn't all that dangerous in the grand scheme of raising teenagers. Unless they choose to chuck popcorn at the wrong person! When you are starting to loosen the reigns a bit, make sure you know what is on the agenda.
Really take time to listen:
Sometimes the words that come out of their mouths are not the things they really mean to say. Try to keep voices calm and ears open when you are raising teenagers. Dig a little deeper if you can't quite figure out what the argument is about. Ask them to explain their reasoning...ask questions that require actual sentences to answer and not just yes or no answers.
Respect their opinions:
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions on things, even teenagers. Try not to belittle their opinions on things or they will clam up and not come to you with problems the next time they arise. Be open minded. Ask questions. And never tell them their opinion is wrong. Opinions cannot be right or wrong...they just ARE. Raising teens will be a lot easier if you keep the lines of communication open. Of course, you may THINK their opinion is stupid as often as you want. Just try to keep it to yourself!
Learn to bend a little:
Raising your teenager with a minimum of conflict may require compromise. How old is your teen? Is their request age appropriate? Maybe they want an iPhone with a data package but you think they are too young. Instead, tell them they CAN have a cell phone with unlimited texting ability. Keep them safe from Internet porn but they still get to chat with their friends 24/7 which is apparently vital to their survival.
Make your curfew flexible on nights when there is a special event. Don't ask them to leave the dance an hour early just because their curfew is 10 PM. Being flexible doesn't mean you are a pushover. Just make sure they know WHY you are changing the rules for that one night.
Try to find common ground that you can both be happy with but explain to them that if they CAN'T compromise, as the parent you get to have your way. Also, let them know that when it comes to their safety, there IS no compromise. The phrase "That is a safety issue" has been in use in my house since they were toddlers. That means in no uncertain terms am I going to change my mind.
Raising a Great Teen Means Getting Involved
If you are wondering how to raise a successful teenager, it really takes getting involved to make it happen. Left to their own devices, teenagers are like torpedoes with a messed up guidance system. No idea where they are going and about ready to blow up at any given second. Get involved in your teen's life, even if they don't want you to. Sit down to dinner together. Put down your phone. Turn down the radio in the car and ask them questions.
And remember, no teenager is perfect. Each one will have their own unique style, personality, and problems to deal with. However, learning the art of compromise will help make raising teenagers just a tad bit easier. Parenting teens is hard, but one day they will thank you for your effort!
Any other tips for raising teens you want to share?
(NOTE: post updated and content added since previous publish date)
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.