The most important thing when it comes to being a better mother to a teenager is to remember how it was for you when you were their age. This is not an easy step at all, even though you might think it is, because you actually don’t want to remember.
You’ve probably done some stupid things when you were a teenager and you must have thought very differently than you think now. Take a good look deep inside your heart and really try to remember how it was for you and how it was for your parents. You need to both understand your children and what they are going through and what you are going through as a parent.
You need to try not to be angry about your children’s thoughts or choices and let them think and learn themselves. Remember how when your mother told you that should learn from her example and not do the same stupid thing and you walked out and did it. Well, chances are your daughter will do the same, so just let her learn from her own mistakes.
Most teenagers say how their parents never listen to them. You are not going to like this, but there is truth to that. You have a lot of problems with your work and the house, so sometimes you just don’t listen to everything your child is saying. But you know what?
They see that and remember and will hold it against you. It doesn’t matter how unimportant the thing you didn’t hear was, your child will just remember that you didn’t listen. Naturally, they will think that you will not listen to important things either, and you should never let this happen.
You have to listen to your child no matter how busy you are. And if you can’t give your child the attention they need, it’s better to say it then to pretend that you are listening. Just don’t forget to come back and remind your child that they wanted to tell you something.
Apologize because you couldn’t listen at the time and tell them that they have your full attention now and that you’ll listen.
Everybody is telling you how a key to being a good mother to a teenager is to talk to them. And this is absolutely true, but it also can be very hard. Teenagers can ask a lot of awkward questions, mostly related to sex.
This is something every teenager parent fears, but you need to understand that you absolutely have to do it. There is no buying books about sex to your children, there is no letting the school take care of it, there is no letting your child learn from their peers – it is your job and you have to do it. Have courage and initiate a conversation about sex with your children, because they need to know that you are not feeling uncomfortable talking to them about it in order for them not to feel uncomfortable to talk to you.
Don’t try to keep your children from having sex by telling them that it’s something bad or whatever excuse may come to your mind. Your kids will probably start having regular sex a lot earlier than you did. Times have changed and you need to face it and sit your child down and explain everything they need to know about sex, contraception and STDs.
In the end you will anyhow have to trust their own decision about having sex, but you can do a great job if you talk to them and prepare them. Besides talking about sex, you should also be aware that your teenager will talk about things you are really not interested in, like who in school is in love with who and stuff like that, but you need to listen and talk about that too if you want your child to talk to you about important stuff.
Your teenager will subconsciously test you with this, and if you don’t want to talk about everyday stuff, they won’t want to talk about important stuff either. Try not to reduce your conversations to just how it was at school, because your child might think that’s all you care about, but instead talk to your child about everything that comes up. You can even try and share a problem you have with your child, because you will encourage them to share their problems with you.
4. Advising Instead of Telling
One of the things your teenager probably hates the most is being told what to do. And if his question “why” is followed by “because I said so”, well let’s just say they won’t be very happy. So, if you are looking for tips how to be a good mother to a teenager, try to avoid the “because I said so”.
If you don’t want your child to do something, rather try to explain why you think they should not do it. The biggest risk of your child doing exactly the thing you told them not to is in you forbiding them to do something.
So, don’t forbid and don’t tell. Advise your child on anything you think they should or should not do, and give your honest opinion. If you keep it calm and explain your case, your teenager might as well listen to you.
5. No Manipulating
Manipulation is one of the strongest weapons when it comes to parenting, but if you want to be a good parent, forget it. Your children know exactly when you manipulate them into doing something they don’t want to do, they really don’t appreciate it and it may end up with them holding it against you for a very long time. Just remember how much you hated it when your mother would say something like “I gave you life and this is what I get”.
Remember that your child did not ask to be born, so you giving them life was your decision and you really should not use this as an excuse for anything. Also, whatever your child did to make you say something like that most likely was not with a sole intention to hurt you. It’s easier to manipulate sometimes, but parenting isn’t easy and it shouldn’t be.
It’s a process through which your child will become a good person, and it’s your job to put an effort and make it happen. So, don’t try to make it easier and don’t manipulate.
6. Have a Firm Hand
Now that you’ve read all the previous steps you could naturally ask yourself “but what happens if nothing works”. Well, that’s where you need to take a stand and decide what’s best for your child. You should of course avoid doing this as much as possible, but there are simply some situations when you have to do it.
Sometimes you need to ground your teenager and that’s it, no negotiating. Your teenager sometimes needs a firm hand in order for things not to get completely out of control. The whole point is to level the things and to do something like this only when really necessary.
Otherwise you may end up with one really angry and really disobedient teenager.
Teenagers are not some monsters that are just there to make you nervous and worried. Keep in mind that there is a lot of stuff going through their minds and that they do need your help to cope with them. There are really just these 6 simple steps to follow if you want to be a good mother to your teenager, so follow them, and everything else will come down to its place.
Thank you, this is really helpful!
Easy to say but very hard to do. I feel that I should go away. Their dad is much better at this. Depressing. I feel guilty not going to their games but I know I criticize a lot. One kid better than the other is the worst for me. I have zero control of my mouth. So sad. That’s why I should go away.
You are not alone. Raising a teenager these days is an awful experience. You are definitely right…..easy to say and very very hard to do. Hang in there! :)