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10 Tips For Raising Teens

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I’ve heard it said that our minds hold on to negative feedback more easily than the positive. Self preservation and all. As I reflect back on my journey as a mother, I have a few cases where this has been especially true. Like the time I walked into my Dad’s herbal shop, stomach sretched tight with my first baby, and an old man looked me in the eye and said, “You’re having a girl and you two will be like fire and water. The teenage years will be especially tough.” Stuck. Ingrained. Fast forward a few months and I’m sitting in church cradling my sweet newborn baby girl. I have braved a trip out of the house just to show her off. A fellow mother comes up to adore the little beauty. She oohs and awws and then murmurs, “Enjoy it. Before you know it she’ll be a teenager and then you’ll be in for it.” I will never forget it, or the accompanying feeling of dread it left me with. What had I gotten myself into? 

 

It’s been nearly 15 years since those dire warnings of the troubled transformation my little one would go through. During that time I’ve had more advice given to me than you can shake a stick at. How to get her to sleep, to eat her vegetables, teething, schooling- everyone was a well-meaning pro with lots of advice. But now, when it comes time to raise a tennager… Where’s everyone at?? It’s crickets as far as practical advice on how to walk with a child through these transformative teen years.

 

Raising these babies thoughtfully and intentionally through their different phases is the most important thing I may ever do.I need real tips from mamas who have been through it! I reached out to some of the best I know. Friends, family members, experts. They’ve raised teens and have learned lessons the hard way. Here are the top tips that spoke to me. I hope they will offer you encouragement and support for the journey ahead.

 

 

  1. Listen! This was number one from almost everyone. Listen, don’t react. Pro Tip: Even when everything inside you is screaming with shock and awe, try to stay calm, hear them out. This offers them the comfort to be more open.  

  2. Don’t focus FIRST on your children’s growth but instead start with your own! Make sure your children don’t become your safety, your identity, your stability. Your growth in personal develpment and emotional health actually overflow into their journey. Lead the way!

  3. Do not parent out of fear and control. Parent out of mystery, vision, curiosity, and humility. I know it sounds vague, but lean into this one- I love this tip!

  4. Children, unfortunately, do not experience our intentions, no matter how heartfelt. They experience what we manifest in tone and behavior. So act in a way that backs up your words. 

  5. Start the conversation on those all too important topics...sex, drugs, masturbation, smoking, vaping, spirituality, whatever it may be, before the conversation needs to be had. Prepare them.

  6. Find a mentor for your teen that’s not a family member. Every now and again, kids can get a little weary of their parents' notable teachings. Having someone else you trust who can help guide them is invaluable.

  7. Protien! During puberty these teens can burn through some calories. Protien can be a huge mood savior, relationship fixer and implosion preventor. Pro Tip: Yes, that grocery bill is high, but be prepared and keep snacks handy!

  8. Hormonal changes WILL be affecting attitude and behavior from time to time. Try not to take it personally. This isn’t an excuse for bad behavior but may help it make more sense. Pro Tip: Remind yourself, “this is not about me.”

  9. Don’t underestimate the influence of screen time and social media. The research is in, these 2 items should be handled with caution. Every mother I talked to brought up how difficult the issue had been. I espepecially liked the viewpoint of a dear friend of mine, who after learning the tough way, decided to hold off on social media until senior year. With so many things teens are manageing, waiting on social media can eliminate a lot of stress and drama. 

  10. Listen to your gut. Listen to your gut. Listen to your gut.

 

 

We are just beginning the journey here, but I will not dread the coming years. There is joy in every season of parenting!
 
Chelsea Co, Founder of Dr Barrys Remedies 

 

P.S. Emotional Ease has been a real help to parents and teens to quiet anxious thoughts and calm body and mind.

P.S.S. I'm sure many of you have already been through this and have much wisdom to share. I would love to hear from you- what did you learn, what advice or encouragement would you offer??

 

 

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