If you aren’t plagued by at least the passing contemplation that you’re not up to the task of parenting a teen, then you’re not paying attention. Life turns high-octane indeed. The contact highs and lows of staying connected to your adolescent child can be intense, and it’s the lows that get the most press.
Carol Burnett has said about her late daughter Carrie during her teen addiction struggles, “I had to love her enough to let her hate me.” The concept of “love” can be a bit abstract, so today I’m featuring an “offboard guest post” about 10 tangible ways to love a teen that much. And though it is written as if directed just to mothers of daughters, all apply to sons as well — with the possible exception of #3. You may need a slightly more creative way to meet your son’s dates. How about insisting he invite them to #4?!
And one thing to keep in mind — it comes right out of Parenting for Peace: even though your teen seems utterly disinterested in you, he or she will subject you to the most unsparing scrutiny! Your child who no longer looks up to you, literally — but rather, eye to eye with you — so recently saw you as perfection personified but is now trained on you like a heat-seeking scope, watching for you to contradict your ideals, your word, your integrity, and hoping more than anything that you don’t. One of the supreme tests in parenting adolescents lies in their need for the adults around them to be steady, strong and sure in who they are, what they stand for, and whether their actions line up with their words. A tall order indeed. (If yours are still little, start preparing now!)
Now, without further ado…
Author Meghan Welker specializes in articles related to kids, parenting, etc., and is currently the content editor for babysitting.net.