I never thought raising teens today was going to be as bad as my parents made it seem like. I was raising the boys through their toddler and elementary years and I thought “Oh I got this!” Boy once they hit puberty was it a different story.
I remember being a handful for my parents and they always told me “I hope one day, when you have kids, they are just like you!”
Well played, very well played. I have not one, but two kids that are exactly like me and while I love my kids entirely, I wish I would have heeded my parent's warning.
Raising kids in general are not for the faint at heart, but raising teens today, especially in this world, is crazy tough. It's nothing like it was 20-40 years ago. So don't compare raising kids today to raising kids in the 90's or earlier.
Things have changed. We've evolved and there is much more going on today, then what went on prior to the 90's. Especially with today's technology. Kids have everything at their fingertips and are practically forced to grow up much quicker than in decades prior.
While everyone is quick to pass judgement and “demand” that the youngsters of today put their electronics down and have conversations with people, some people fail to understand that they are. They are conversing and are being more social if you compare their age group to previous decades.
Raising Teens Today – May The Odds Be In Your Favor
Being the parent of a teenager isn't easy, but then neither is being a teenager. Although you might not remember exactly what it was like, most people have some strong memories of their angsty teen years. Being a teen today is different to how it was, but there are still plenty of similarities to help you parent teens.
Prepare Them for Growing Up
In reality, raising teens today is not for the faint of heart and you have to start earlier than you realize. Your children need to be prepared for everything that comes with being a teenager. From understanding puberty to safely dealing with sexuality, it's best to start educating them early.
Be honest with them, use proper words for everything. Sure, saying “Aunt Flo” is visiting is okay, but you need to explain what Aunt Flo is in proper terminology. Provide your daughter with an emergency pouch containing panties, pads/tampons/menstrual cup, a ziploc bag, feminine wipes, and chocolate. That way if she gets her period at school, she's prepared.
Same with boys, explain to them about wet dreams, what to expect and how to handle an erection when and if it happens in public, especially at school. Boys have it a little bit luckier than girls, but that doesn't mean that their hormones are a breeze to work with. Talking your son through everything is the best thing you can do.
Give Them Trust and Privacy
Raising teens today means you often struggle with the need to constantly know what's going on with your child, but it will only happen more and more as they get older. Being nosy and controlling isn't going to do anyone any favors, and you will often find that allowing for privacy and trust can be the smarter path to take.
No, that doesn't mean you give them free range to do whatever they way, talk however they want and hide. There has to be some monitoring of electronics sometimes. We have an agreement in our home that my son has to hand over his phone, without arguing if we ask for it. For the most part, he's left alone, but if my husband and/or I speculate that there is something we need to look at, we do.
Make Yourself Available Without Judgement
Sometimes to keep your teens safe, you need to consider dialing back on judgement and only offering support. You might not want them drinking or having sex, but it's better that they know they can call you for a ride home or talk to you about birth control than having them do these things in secret.
I remember when my oldest came to me and said that he wanted to have sex with his girlfriend at the time. We went to the drug store and we talked about the different types of condoms, how to put one on properly, etc. Sure it was weird, but it was necessary. He's more prepared now and has no problem with talking about things that are bothering him. Since then, our youngest has started opening up about his feelings and such as well. When it's time, we'll talk in depth as well.
Look Out for Signs of Serious Problems
Not all emotional issues are a result of teen angst. Many teenagers experience mental health issues, and it's important to recognise the signs. Like I said earlier, raising teens today isn't for the faint of heart. There's a lot more signs we need to look for, a lot of disorders that have been around for hundreds of years, but we're just now scratching the surface on the severity of the disorders.
Infographic Design By Zelus Recovery
I've talked heavily about mental health and how we live it daily. From my mental health down to our youngest's. I don't believe in keeping quiet because I'm here to help give someone a voice, understanding, or maybe even that epiphany to get the help they need.
Both of my boys have cut in the past to deal with depression. I used to cut when I was their age, I also used sex a lot to mask my depression when I was in my late teens to early 20's.
So while some teens may start closing people out, you may want to also keep an eye on teens who start becoming extremely social, hanging out more, etc. While it could be just them wanting to break out of their shell, it could also be a cry for attention or help that is needed.