Many of my parenting clients with young children are already worrying about the teen years. They’ve heard horror stories – or remember being a horror story to their own parents. And they’re very anxious about what those years will bring for their own families. No one loves the idea of fighting, sulking, or poor decision-making. But fear not. Most kids make it through the teen years just fine, and there are lots of really great things about parenting teens. Here are just a few:
Teens can introduce us to all sorts of new ideas, experiences, and interests. Maybe you haven’t thought about your time in the school band in ages. But when your son expresses an interest in trying out for his, you’ve now just found something for the two of you to talk about. Or maybe your daughter has realized that that pie recipe is actually from your mother; now she’d like you to teach her how to make it. Perhaps you’re learning more than you’ve ever thought there was to know about dinosaurs or the Marvel universe or home decorating, because that’s what your teen wants to talk about. Teens are just discovering how wide and fascinating the world can be. They’ll happily take you along for the ride if you’ll let them.
Teens also hold us accountable for our statements and beliefs. As they consider and challenge so much of what they’re finding in the world, this can lead us as parents to reconsider or clarify our own positions. We often aren’t even aware of all that we take for granted. But having teens in the house who are questioning everything (…everything…) can lead us to expand our own thoughts and assumptions, too.
Teens give us a glimpse into the future. It might have been hard to picture, back when these young people were infants and toddlers, but one day, they’ll be adults. And you’re getting to see a preview of who they’ll be – right now. It can be a bit nostalgic to realize that your little baby isn’t a baby anymore. But at the same time, it’s kind of exciting. See the world from a fresh perspective and look forward to the time when this young person will be out doing great things in the world.
Nobody will suggest that having teenage children is always a walk in the park. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its upsides, too. Look for the negative and you’ll find it. But the reverse is true as well: look for the positive, the exciting, the opportunities to grow, and you’ll find those too.
Don’t kid yourself – Teens Need Their Parents!
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