teen at home

You know what tests your patience even more than travelling via traffic-clogged Silk Board in Bangalore – parenting a teen! 🙂 Every day is like a permanent roller coaster ride. You really don’t know when all is going right and you suddenly plunge and completely lose your breath and when you are apprehensive but the ride just nudges along smoothly. Teenage is a time of apprehension for both the child and the parents. Suddenly you find yourself oscillating between deep despair and confusion, ten times on daily basis. Your perfectly fine, obedient child is now rebellious, moody, weepy, questions everything you say and generally is the epitome of obnoxious. To add to the woes, they suddenly gain inches. You feel even more intimidated as they glare down at you and give you either confused or plain scary looks.

Here are the issues I grapple with:

Too much or too little discipline: Teenagers test their limits of freedom and those of your patience incessantly. While some of us become way too strict, there are others who become too soft because who has the energy to argue with the always-on-war-path teen. In my opinion, it is a balance that we all strive for but find very difficult to fathom and achieve. Before you launch into a lecture on restraint, let me flash dirty clothes, torn jeans, shabby, uncut hair and messy rooms in front of your eyes. Are they always absent-minded or is it especially for the benefit of parents? Add to it the frequent bouts of amnesia and deafness. Everything is heard only after 4-5 loud yells. When asked to look for something, be ready to never have it found.

Which approach works: Every teen is different hence every teen needs to be handled differently. Easier said than done because you really no longer know how to behave around them. Yet, if your child is naturally responsible and mature, give her more freedom. Allow her to engage in her interests. She will anyway no matter what you think. On the other hand, if your teen is more difficult and volatile, handle them firmly. Be around to supervise them. Allow them age-appropriate decision making but be more conscious in following up and monitoring. Between you and me, implementing these approaches will make handling a bad boss seem like a breeze.

How to get through to them: While children overall seem more irreverent these days (I am sure every generation of parents has felt this way), teens take the cake and the bakery. It is the age of raging hormones and getting a teen to listen and do what you’ve asked seems like trying to climb Everest on a daily basis. Well, keep at it, I guess. What is the option, anyway? Try to be consistent; be fair and be patient most of all especially when they have the headphones on when you are talking to them or sing loudly in that squealing voice or… you get the drift! These few years test your love for them and hopefully the storm passes by the time they reach the end of teens.

Don’t sweat the small stuff: Easier said than done but in the larger scheme of things, it works better to concentrate on the bigger picture. If overall your teen seems to be thriving, is in control of things, handles things maturely and is generally well-behaved, perhaps a few stray instances can be overlooked. Don’t believe the worst of your child though they give you ample reasons to do so. Perhaps they will feel more trusted and will behave better. Hope is all we’ve got. 😀

Be involved: Do not overlook any alarming signs that your teen exhibits. Whether it is drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex or any other topics that most parents generally shy away from discussing, it works well if you have discussions about these with your teens. Do not allow them to drive underage or give them access to too much money. Know their peers even if you may not like them. Sometimes you may foresee a bad choice or decision but let them make the mistake if it is something not too serious. A teen may think otherwise but this is the time when they need a parent’s firm yet loving hand to guide them. Be ready for lots of resistance and invasion of privacy barbs while you try to stay ‘involved’.

What to talk to them: Remember that you are human too with your failings, your bad days, your temper troubles etc. Share your tough moments and failings with them. Emphasize that a parent is not superhuman and goes through bad patches. Define what you will not hear/tolerate from your child. It is best to keep communicating often with your teen even if all you hear in response are grunts and protests. 🙂

Are you a parent of a teen? Any tips to share with me?

PS: This is a realistic yet exaggerated and hopefully funny account of a teen’s parent. My teen is not like this! (He reads my posts) 😀

teen at home

Top Pic courtesy: Shutterstock

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44 Thoughts on “When You Have a Teen at Home

  1. I love every single point but I like the last line the best. Sid, I know you’re reading 😉

    A lot of parenting comes down to sensible compromise and having a firm handle on being the parent. Yes, we should be friends with our kids but we should be parents first and foremost. A while ago, Gy told me that ‘you can’t tell me what to do’. I firmly told her I can and I will. 😉

    Kids can really test our patience and of course, it’s up to us to stock up on those reserves and keep our dialogues with them open and clear at all times. This made for a good read 🙂
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…Five more minutesMy Profile

    • Lata Sunil on June 3, 2016 at 12:12 pm said:

      Let me add here Shailaja. Nothing, absolutely nothing is preparing us to face a teen. All books and writing is only on parenting, baby care. When it comes to teens, its very limited. And for us parents, our world comes upside down. Suddenly, the sweet, obedient, mama’s boy has become a teenager, literally a rebel without a cause.

    • Yes, l completely agree with you. Parents first and also this is the time when they really need discipline even though they resent it and fight it. We know what to do and l am sure the teens do too. Yet, it becomes quite a ride.

  2. Lata Sunil on June 3, 2016 at 12:08 pm said:

    Rachna, I am feeling so good to read this that I am not alone. But, they are just screaming for attention even if they show they do not care. I am tired of their moodiness and then I look at my younger pre-teen and worry again. Just love them, and they should be fine. Not doing what we tell them to do is not the end of the world.

    • I know, Lata. The confusion is in the dichotomy. The moodiness really gets to you. Yes, we understand. We have been through that phase too and only now discover how troubling it must have been for our parents. I talk frequently with my son and he seems to take it well. 🙂
      Rachna recently posted…When You Have a Teen at HomeMy Profile

  3. Communicating with boys is a challenge because often enough they don’t open up. And as you say, sometimes we end up fearing the worst. But trust, giving them space and talking when they are in a mood to talk is important.

    • I haven’t faced the issue of communication with my boys so far. But who knows maybe they will clam up as they get older. They definitely get very moody. As a matter of fact, I sometimes feel that the younger son is getting moodier for no reason. Yes, we keep holding on to the trust and be patient and communicative.
      Rachna recently posted…When You Have a Teen at HomeMy Profile

  4. Agree with every point here ! 🙂 I’m glad you put both types of teens into consideration 😀 . Also, parents often forget what it’s like to be a teen, I mean, weren’t they once like that too? A little empathy helps.
    But anyhow, you’ve got all the right points here. 🙂
    Dashy recently posted…The Phone CallMy Profile

    • You know I had written a paragraph about being there but then scratched it out. Nothing annoys a teen more than a parent saying I know what you are going through. Apparently, our times were different. In some ways, they were. But we do understand what teens feel even though now being on the other side of the table, it is bewildering. 🙂 I hope the empathy bit applies both ways. Glad you liked the post.
      Rachna recently posted…When You Have a Teen at HomeMy Profile

  5. I sit back. Feet up on a stool, sipping coffee and savoring every drop. My son, a teen, watches, amused. Because parenting is as much about parents bringing up children, as children bringing up parents, and I like to think I’ve done a fairly good job while riding that roller coaster and landing feet first, balanced. 🙂 Love the post! And you know what? The true reward is when everyone else praises them while we’re busy freaking out over the mess they love to make. Enjoy! This too shall pass and you will miss these days. Promise!
    Vidya Sury recently posted…How to clean your spiritual closet #mentalclutterMy Profile

    • I can so imagine you that way. 🙂 You’ve got it bang on. Everyone praises them and you freak out on the mess they create or the absentmindedness they display. Of course, we love them to bits. And sometimes the only concern is that they should not go awry. But then I am confident that they are well-turned out kids with a very sensible head on their shoulders. I will hold on to that promise. 😀
      Rachna recently posted…When You Have a Teen at HomeMy Profile

  6. Being a teenager, I can relate somewhat with this post. But honestly, I don’t find myself being aggressive on a day to day basis. Moody, yes. But not the type who’ll throw tantrums and demand for whatever I want. But maybe I’m one in a million ??
    Another point I’d like to add, is the pressure of studies, and ensuring that the grades are decent. It’s not necessary to demand the highest score. More important is memory retention, and being able to understand and put to practice what has been taught.

    • Thanks, Mithila. Like I said, the post was exaggerated. 🙂 So no, my teen is not aggressive every day as well. But I’ve seen other teens who are that way. Some seem to have totally gone insane. As far as studies are concerned, I am totally against pressuring kids. I will not do that to my sons. I know there is a fine line between making them realize their potential and pushing them. I want to err on the side of caution.
      Rachna recently posted…When You Have a Teen at HomeMy Profile

  7. I really enjoyed your article, Rachna. It brought back my daughter’s teenage years.
    There was a piece of advice which a friend had shared which I’d like to pass on. When a teenager says, ‘leave me alone,’ – that’s the time he or she needs you the most. It’s something I still hold close to my heart.
    Kamini recently posted…Have You Taken the ‘Acceptance’ Leap Yet?My Profile

    • Thanks, Kamini. Glad to hear that you could relate to the post. I do agree that they really mean that they need you when they shoo you away. Knowing me, I would ensure that we immediately talk out the issue. The moodiness is something else though.
      Rachna recently posted…When You Have a Teen at HomeMy Profile

  8. Agree with all the points here. I can only reference when I was a teenager and I must say it wasn’t an easy task for my parents. I was a rebel as compared to my obedient younger sister. But they got through me, honest open dialogue,letting me make my own mistakes and own decisions, being involved more as a friend – and it worked for us. Hopefully I’ve turned out well! 😉
    Aditi recently posted…#CreativePoetry Inspired by @austinkleon #NewspaperBlackoutMy Profile

  9. Nice pointers. Yes, its a ride that will be different for each one and one will be wider only after riding it. Let’s just hope that luck is always on the side other than all the good sense and love we will enable them with.
    Asha recently posted…Emil’s EnemiesMy Profile

  10. Strong ,impressive and insightful post. cant share any experience of mine as am still single. Nice read.
    Jyotirmoy Sarkar recently posted…Love—From the beginning of the UniverseMy Profile

  11. 13 more years to go. Wonder how I’ll handle M, as it is I have so little patience ? Oh goodness gracious!
    Nabanita recently posted…A Little Extra Can Never Hurt #IncomeKaTopUpMy Profile

  12. Yogi Saraswat on June 4, 2016 at 1:27 pm said:

    A beneficial social post Rachna ji !!

  13. Oh teenage is indeed a wonderful period but also pretty confusing and traumatic for the teens. We can only play it by the ear and hope that we got it right 🙂 Will be sharing one of my L&M posts soon. I am sure you’d have read it 🙂
    Zephyr recently posted…The naming gameMy Profile

  14. Too often parents feel that they are right and are not ready to listen to the kid. one should realise that everyone has a point of view. Allow the kid to express his/her point of view instead of pushing through your thoughts.
    PS: I thought you were in Gurgaon.
    Sabyasachi Patra recently posted…Jewels of Thane CreekMy Profile

    • As you may have judged from my other posts, I am not one of those parents. I am pretty democratic and open to listening but in this phase the teens do get a bit tough to handle. Their constant rebellion and moodiness drives the balanced of parents up the wall. But yes, it helps to keep telling ourselves to stay calm and stay balanced. About the PS, never actually lived in Delhi or NCR. Thank God!

  15. I feel you parents are awesome handling teens. It must be a hard job. But you are right about the balance and it holds good for everything we do. So I believe for parenting too 🙂
    Parul Thakur recently posted…#WomenAtWork – A Ticket CheckerMy Profile

    • Thanks, Parul. I guess we are thrown into the swimming pool without knowing how to swim and we are doing our best flapping around. 🙂 Yes, balance is the key. I just wish it was easy to achieve it.

  16. Very well written post Rachna,but then that’s YOU.All over!
    Am I glad that my am past that stage!

    • Thanks so much, Indu. I am looking to get past that age as well. But then I realize that once the elder one passes that phase, the younger one will slip right into it. 🙂

  17. I liked the ps. part.

  18. AND here I was grumbling about having a baby at home for a few days 🙂
    C. Suresh recently posted…A bachelor and a babyMy Profile

  19. Love your post Rachna. Mine are not even teens yet and I’m getting some of it. The truest bit was about everyone else saying what good kids they are. Oh my goodness – that’s the time you feel like pulling out your hair because you get to see an entirely different picture at home. The parent-friend balance is the tricky bit. These days I try not to react when they tell me something outrageous – but it’s hard not blowing up.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…Old mess new messMy Profile

    • You understand my situation perfectly. All those things and people just say be patient. I want to tear my hair out. I try not to react but sometimes it gets too much when they are so unpredictable.

  20. Teenagers are invincible and they can give you the most exhilarating moments and the scariest ones at another time…would love to share a quote that I read on teenagers..”Don’t talk, just act, don’t say, just show, don’t promise, just prove”..
    Loved Auntie Acid’s clip arts that synced with your lovely post!

  21. Rachna firstly welcome to our linky. It is so wonderful to have another teen mum on board! My teens and particularly the parenting experiences of being a mother of teenagers was the inspiration for my blog and a roller coaster ride is the perfect analogy and one I use frequently. It is full of highs and lows and there is never a dull moment. Trust, communication, firm boundaries, strong parenting and a sense of humour have been my tools for coping so far but the journey is not over yet. Thanks for sharing this with us and love that your son reads your blog. #TweensTeensBeyond

  22. my only tip to living with a teen is to stick with it, stand by what you say and don’t back down, explain your decisions to let them be able to process the information, explain your reasons for reaching your conclusion and then allow them the space the need to work their feelings and emotions out #tweenteensbeyond

  23. Pingback: Tweens, Teens and Beyond Linky #14 - After the playground

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