Got Teens? I have. Not just 1 but 2. Living with testosterone-fueled boys is like being suspended on a perpetual bungee ride. You get a mixture of sickening fear and exhilarating joy all at the same time as you watch them journey through their angst filled years. Like most bewildered mums, you marvel at their growing stature into adulthood but also agonize over their seemingly rebellious choices in life.
Teens are a hybrid of hormones and irrationality. Sustained by three basal needs in life – Food, Sleep and Play; they simply cannot function beyond this hierarchy even if you demand more out of them. The best survival tactic is just to go with the flow. Then, do fall on yours knees to pray for saintly patience and believe fervently this temporarily malaise will soon pass!
The number one pet peeve in parenting teens is when there’s little room to negotiate for life niceties with them. You want civil communication, but you get only monosyllabic grunts. You prefer that dirty laundry stay in the basket, whilst they see no reason why shoving them under the bed is deemed bad. You fuss and insist on a nightly curfew, but they retort that you are being paranoid and overly controlling. In short, there is never a meeting of minds when much tension arises from tussling over respect and responsibilities issues.
After much clashing over endless mum-teen skirmishes, I have decided to keep my sanity by simplifying my parenting mantra to these 5 steps:
- Teens have selective hearing. Nag less and be economical in your words through short and simple statements of facts.
- Negotiate rather than command. They hear better when they feel that they are being heard.
- Be less reactive but be proactive.Teens like you to be around but baulk at the thought of you jumping in every time with your rescue gear.
- Don’t personalise every hurt. Remember that they are still kids at heart and work in progress.
- Keep the relation at all cost.They will always see your love even in the midst of tensions.
This mum gets to acknowledge that parenting teenager boys is both a challenge and a privilege. Just when you feel that you have been driven to your wit’s ends, you’d suddenly find that the bratty teen-child does turn out to be a knightly prince in no time. This may not be the guarantee for all teens but at least this grateful mum is beginning to see the ground in otherwise an exhilarating and rough bungee ride. Choose to hope and stay happy!