Now more than ever, parents need to be conscious and fully engaged in their teenagers’ lives. 2017 is shaping up to be a memorable year for all of us.
I currently have two teens and a 24-year-old, Gabi. Parenting Gabi was way easier than these two. When she was a teenager, MySpace was all the rage. There were no apps and texting had just begun.
With my younger two, I have experienced everything from fight videos to lewd and explicit music. It’s a different world and I realize it’s an attack on our kids. They are assaulted with sex everywhere they go. You can barely watch a commercial without seeing some form of sex flashed across your screen.
As I laid in bed the other night, I prayed for ways to parent my teens while still giving them freedom. It kept me up half the night. I want to be a great mom. Check out that post <HERE>. I came up with the below three tips for parenting teens in 2017.
- SET BOUNDARIES – I had to let my kids know straight up, what is acceptable and what is not. Don and I sat them down and created contracts. These contracts include behaviors and grades. When they maintain or reach a certain item, then they already knew what the rewards or consequences were going to be. This eliminates the back and forth. We ask, “what does your contract say?”
- CHECK EVERYTHING – We conduct random checks of the cell phone(yes, they share one) and their tablet. If they do not immediately hand these items over, we automatically go into detective mode. My daughter has not had her own cell phone for the last two years. She had lots of foul language and just as yucky videos on her phone. Guess what? She survived not having a phone. When she goes out with friends, she takes the shared phone.
- KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN – We have an open door policy in our home. They have the freedom to tell us anything, no matter how crazy it is and we agree to keep a level head. We talk openly about sex and everything else. My son told us he did not want us to have sex but we told him that as husband and wife, we will do it and love it. He was thoroughly grossed out, but it showed him we are human. They come home from school and tell us about kids doing things in the bathroom I didn’t even thing of until I was an adult. I keep a straight face and ask them if they would want to be known as the kid who did something like that. Of course they say they don’t. When I listened to some music my son had on the shared phone, I told him straight up that it was unacceptable. I also asked him would he be comfortable with his grandma listening to it. I told him our standards and how disappointed I would be if he continued to listen to it. I made him choose.
Parenting teens today is a challenge and will work you last nerve, however, it is rewarding. Remember to be a safe place for them to share anything with you.
What ways are you connecting with your tweens or teens?