Understanding Mom’s Perspective on Raising Teens

moms perspective raising teens

Earlier this week we learned how hard it is to be a teen from my five nieces who shared real and honest feedback with us. As with all of our 5 Minute Insight features, we asked for their “Essential Mom Advice” to help us understand the teen mind better.

In a separate discussion with my niece she said she likes to read Raising STRONG Girls to get a Mom’s perspective. So, we thought a Mom’s response to their advice might be a great way to help them understand us better. Here it goes!

Communication…

Teen’s Advice:

“Try and create an open line of communication with your daughters from an early age. It’s important to feel as though you can tell/talk to your Mom about anything!”

RSG Mom Response:

This piece of advice is great. The tricky part is how? Despite our best efforts and academy award-winning performances, we really don’t know what we are doing! An owner’s manual distributed by the hospital at the time of birth would be a huge help. Until we are faced with a particular situation we don’t know how we will react. Sometimes we get it so right. And, sometimes we walk away thinking, “I’m a failure as a Mom.”

Unfortunately, our ability to communicate and respond effectively with teens is highly affected by the day’s events (our mood, how much sleep we got the night before or the heated discussion we had with our husband/boss…). We have to constantly remind ourselves to listen before we speak, be patient and respect our children at every age.

This piece on parent-child communication has some helpful tips on how to develop strong communication with your child from an early age. https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/communication/#.WWtmYTOZMhs

My favorite tip is:

  • Listen carefully and politely. Don’t interrupt the child when he is trying to tell his story. Be as courteous to your child as you would be to your best friend.

 

Trust…

Teen’s Advice:

“Trust your daughter and give her space to make her own decisions, despite the saying, ‘Mother knows best.’ Some things she just needs to find out for herself.”

RSG Mom Response:

Trust is hard — as a parent, or a child. Letting a child fail is one of the hardest things to do in life. There is some sort of surreptitious transformation that goes on between the time we enter the delivery room as a single person and come out as two. A child is born, but so is a Mama Bear. Trust us. “Ain’t nothing going to happen to our baby on our watch!” What I’m trying to say is, it’s not always an issue of whether we trust you, but more of wanting to protect you from… basically anything that could cause you harm or sorrow! That’s not hard to do, right?

There are moments when trust is difficult. Most often it is not because we think you are always lying. We know from experience how easy it is to be influenced by friends as a teen. If you do something that betrays our trust, it’s hard to win it back. If your words and actions earn our trust, it is easier to give you the room you need to be your own person. This article might help us: http://www.parenttoolkit.com/social-and-emotional-development/advice/relationships/building-trust-in-teens

 

Believe Everything Will be Okay…

Teen’s Advice:

“Relax, I know it’s stressful having a teenage daughter (sorry Mom) but she will be okay.”

RSG Mom Response:

Relax? That is so much easier said than done! As parents we stress about every little thing because we want you to be safe. We’ve survived the teenage years and know that sometimes we made stupid decisions and got lucky. We don’t want you to make bad decisions and end up being on the bad side of luck.

It is a proven fact that teens’ brains are not fully developed. Your decisions as a teen are based more on impulses and emotions than adult decisions. This piece from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychology describes brain development and how adolescents act differently from adults. It might provide some insight into why we find it hard to relax and trust that everything will be okay. 😉

 

Letting Go…

Teen’s Advice:

“Start to recognize your daughter as becoming an adult with real autonomy and core beliefs. Nobody wants to hear all the time that everything they’re interested in is just a phase (though some may be)!”

RSG Mom Response:

We get this too, but it is hard to see our babies grow up! Again, our Mama Bear instinct kicks in. We want to protect you at all costs. The bond between a parent and a child is one you can’t fully understand until you become a parent. Our most important job in life is keeping you safe and healthy. If we fall down at our job, you suffer. No parent wants their child to suffer. If you hurt, our hurt for you is 100 times deeper.

While we may seem like we are crushing your dreams when we express that experiences you are going through are phases, it doesn’t mean that they are unimportant moments in your life. We are just trying to let you know that this period in your life will not be with you forever. We are trying to help you see beyond the immediate heartbreak, confrontation, struggle (whatever the pain may be you are having), and let you know you will get to a better place in your life.

 

 

 

 

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