Manual to Raising Kids
I have been spending a lot of time researching parenting for my book about other mothers. No matter what your parenting status is (married, single, straight, gay, adopted, foster, divorced, step, whatever…) there is one common theme: parenting teenagers is not easy.
I know when my kids were teeny bopper and pre-teen I thought all those other parents complaining about teenagers were just negative people who didn’t understand teens or maybe parents who spoiled their kids too much. I was sure our kids would be different. We had cool kids that were fun to be around and we were cool parents. I kept telling myself just because everyone else thinks teenagers are evil, challenging or horrible does not mean our teenagers will be like that, we have unique kids.
Well, one day reality hit. Almost over night the 3 kids turned in to teenagers. They went from being carefree fun loving teeny boppers to TEENAGERS. Their eyes started rolling at whatever we said, wore or did. They knew everything, we knew nothing. The bedroom doors started shutting the moment they walked in the door from school. Going out to dinner with us or to the movies was no longer fun. You get the idea. Teenagers are teenagers it’s how we react to them that matters. The way I reacted was to get my feelings hurt when hearing things like “um you are not actually going to wear that out in public are you?”. I went from being cool mom to clumsy dork overnight. Parenting teenagers can make you feel like you are in middle school all over again. Parenting teenagers pretty much forced me to grow up and grow some thick skin.
During some of the more challenging parental years I used to think to myself, “what happened? I thought I was the kid, these darn kids are forcing me to be the adult”. This party girl from high school suddenly found herself realizing friends of kids 7-11 Big Gulp cups were actually filled with Vodka and not soda. (Hint: parents if your teens have a bunch of friends over who seem to be innocently drinking soda or water, ask for a sip. Be prepared to choke on straight up Vodka.) And when finding Vodka having to poor it out (or make your partner do it), lecture the kids (ie. totally lose it) and become known as the un-cool parent.
Let’s just say it was not easy raising teenagers. Fortunately, I have made it to the other side. The youngest is almost 19 and getting ready to head off to college. The older 2 are already in college. Dare I say I enjoy their company now?
I read a lot of books on raising teenagers. The best advice I can give you if you are about to embark on this journey or are in the middle of it is to take it one day at a time and remember to breathe. You may want to consider praying too if that is not something you do regularly because teaching a kid how to drive is one of THE scariest things I ever did in my life! Parenting teenagers is a very humbling experience.
In the picture above are some of the books I read during the teen years. I’d like to share these books with you. If you’d like one please leave a comment below with the title and send me your mailing address with the title of the book. If you are in the US I will ship it to you at no charge. First come, first serve.
Books up for grabs:
- Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls
- How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
- Teen Owner’s Manual
- Field Guide to The American Teenager
- Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers
The only thing I ask for in return is a LIKE on Facebook.
- Good Old Fashioned Home Cooking
- Marin Moms
Going to share the link to this with my dear friend who is the parent of an only child – now a TEENAGER. (who, incidentally, goes to NHHS and will be a sophomore in September)
Hi Sally! I think you’re talking about ME blissfully figuring our perfect 9 year olds will be perfect teenagers! I have Reviving Ophelia but would love one of the others to prepare me for the dark days. Will you two also bring 7-11 cups to our house to nurse us through it?! Xxx Andrea
That is a great article and so true, I am so nervous of the years ahead but as you advise I wake up every morning in prayer for what God has in plan for my daughter and I, some days are good and some days I could just….. With her at NHHS my hand is on my heart daily and I pray that her Christian foundation will keep her on the straight and narrow. It nice to know that my daughter is not the only one abducted by aliens at this time. As for books I have not ready any to prepare me for this journey any specific recommendation would be appreciated
That is so nice of you to give away your books to others entering the teenage years! My kids are still little so we are not close to needing them. But I hope I file this info away so that when they stop being so great and become teenagers, I’ll remember your words and breathe. 🙂