Living with teenagers is an ordeal, right? Parents can only watch helplessly as their lovable children transform into some sort of unpredictable creatures, correct? No. Even if their kids are moving toward greater independence, moms and dads can still help them to become better human beings. And they can still laugh about the process!
As a follow-up to our earlier list, we at Bored Panda compiled a new collection of tweets about raising teenagers. It includes funny rants, candid everyday pictures, and even a few translations for those of you who aren't well-versed in sighs.
Continue scrolling, upvote your favorite entries, and don't forget to check out the chat we had with Vicki Broadbent, a mom of two boys with a baby girl on the way and the creator of one of the most comprehensive parenting blogs online, Honest Mum.
Experts say that we often mistakenly give teens the message that they're only good when they're not doing bad things, such as abusing substances, hanging around with the wrong crowd, or having sex. But this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy as negative expectations sometimes actually promote the behavior we fear most.
"Parents of teens have to accept it's normal for children to pull away from them during the teen years so they can carve out their own identity and embrace growing up," Vicki Broadbent, an award-winning lifestyle blogger, parenting expert, and bestselling author of Mumboss (UK) and The Working Mom (the US and Canada), told Bored Panda. "Teenhood is about playing being an adult. Parents are still needed, of course, more so than ever, to provide education, love, support, and boundaries for their kids."
Vicki said it's a good idea to try not to be too hard on your teen, as "rules were made to be broken and they will test you just as you tested your own parents at their age."
Adolescence can be a confusing time of change for the entire family, but there's plenty you can do to nurture your teen and encourage responsible behavior. "Try to involve them in decisions which affect them and try to break the cycle of constant bickering. Spend some one-on-one time with them but let them lead you, asking what they want to do, see, buy, etc. Get to know their ever-evolving personalities," she added.
"I found my parents teaching me to cook properly (a 3-course meal as well as favorite dishes) was a way we could not only bond together when I was a teen but it was a way to give me a gift of independence too, a means for me to become less reliant on them," Vicki Broadbent said. "You taught your kid to ride a bike, now teach them life skills so they can be adults without you at some point."
Finding the balance between giving your teenagers freedom and guiding them is a delicate process. Vicki thinks that "teens and preteens (like my eldest) need to know that there are consequences to their actions and explaining how you feel when they go against your wishes is best. Make it about you (this is what other therapists/psychologists have taught me and it works)!"
Discipline is about teaching, not punishment or control. To encourage your teen to behave well, make sure they understand what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable at home, at school, and elsewhere. Enforce these rules with fair and appropriate consequences.
"Explain that coming home after their curfew means that you are up with anxiety until they arrive back home and that it's unfair on you, describing how you feel (breathless, tearful, etc)," Vicki Broadbent suggested. "Arrange a plan that they text or call you if they're running late and compromise with them, stating that they have 30 minutes leeway for example to make it home, and after that deadline is broken, they'll find themselves grounded and unable to attend the gig they'd planned to go to next weekend, etc."
"Inform them of what they might lose if they break the rules before they head out though so they're aware of the consequence before they go astray as this might hopefully deter them. Explain that you will give them more space if they build trust with you."
Most parents have more power and influence than they might think!