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Raising Teenagers Advice From Mom
This is a difficult age; they aren’t grown but they think they are. They aren’t children anymore but technically they are. In the old days they would be adults, married, fight in wars and live on their own; but somewhere between then and now they have become not quite grown and not quite children.
Interesting what modern development can create. We have to give them enough responsibility to not make them feel like we are holding them back and yet not more than they can handle since they aren't technically adults yet.
They are ornery and hard to live with and I have a theory that it's natures way of making it easier for us to send them out into the world.
I have raised three and I can tell you that no two are alike. What works for the first one will not work for the next one and what didn’t work for the first one sometimes will work for the next one. Books on how to raise children are often written by people who don’t even have kids. I've yet to figure that one out.
Johnny gets to go
Here’s the best advice I can give you from one parent to another. If your child says, “but Johnny’s mom and dad are letting him go” and it sounds like a bad idea they are usually wrong. I’m not saying they’re lying, maybe Johnny is lying. Either way I’ve found that nine times out of ten if you don’t feel like it’s a good idea Johnny’s mama probably doesn’t think it’s a good idea either and if you talk to Johnny’s mama she’s probably getting the same story you’re getting. I know, I've talked to her and she's just as clueless.
The wonderful thing about teenagers is that they can drive and you can send them to the store to buy the milk they drink by the gallon. Also the bad news about teenagers is the fact that they can drive and you will worry about them the first time they go and every time after that until they move out and even sometimes then.
It does get easier, usually about the time they turn 30.
What Where When Form
We have a printed form on our computer our teenagers have to fill out before they can go anywhere. It’s the “Who, What, Where, When” form. This way we always know where our kids are; or at least where they’re supposed to be. They have to give phone numbers and addresses of the friend’s or which movies, mall, restaurant or event they are attending.
We had a bad experience and after that we created this form.
One evening we had gone out and our oldest son went to a friend’s party. We came down a main road heading home and saw several police cars entering a neighborhood. We knew this was the neighborhood where the boy lived that was having the party, we didn’t however know the street or house number or phone number, so we drove into the division to see if we recognized any cars or people. Sure enough we saw a young man we knew to be a friend of our son.
He said that our son had left earlier. Thank goodness.
When we got home he was sitting at the table eating (they’re always eating). We asked him what happened at the party. He didn’t know that the police were involved but he said things had started to get out of hand. A couple of boys showed up drunk and causing trouble. It turned out the parents were out of town. He said he left before they got crazy. I was so proud of him.
At least now we know the address and phone number where they are going and won’t have to wonder if something like this happens again. We fill out the same form if we go anywhere even though our children all know both of our cell phone numbers. Sometimes we are out of range and can’t be reached on our mobile phones. You have to turn them off during a movie.
It’s good practice to leave notes telling your kids where you will be and what time you will be home. It’s also common courtesy to call if you’re going to be late. If you give your kids this consideration they will be more likely to give you the same.
Not So Grounded
Never under estimate the intelligence of a teenager. Some will sneak out of their window when they are grounded if they really want to go somewhere. The same darlings will make an extra set of car keys so that when you take theirs they can still go if they want to bad enough.
You just have to be one step ahead of them. Don’t just ground them put a large tub of water outside of their window. Nothing like a loud splash to change a little girls date plans. Tie string around the trees in the front yard. Think back to all the things you did as a teenager and yes your child will probably try them and more. Disconnect their battery and remove the battery. Some will tell on themselves by asking you why you took their battery out of their car. I then ask them how they know unless they were trying to drive while under house arrest.
Show up at school unannounced occasionally and see what your daughter has worn to school. That mini skirt you told her she wasn’t allowed to wear just might be on her anyway. That eye make up you said she couldn’t wear she just may be wearing. They always have an explanation. The first thing they always say is, “Mom, I can explain.” And I always give them a chance to come up with a tall tale just to see what kind of story they will make up. Writer's kids come up with the best stories.
My oldest child had an unusual problem in that he couldn’t tell a lie. I mean literally. He always told the truth. So when my other two came along it took me a while to realize the stories they were telling were not always true.
“There was this coyote and we had to run from it and Jodie’s house was right there and I know you told me not to go to her house but I knew you would never forgive me if I got eaten by a bear.”
“A bear; I thought it was a coyote?”
“Well yeah that’s what I meant.”
We live in town and as far as I know we have never had any bears or coyotes around here; however I do know that there was a party at Jodie’s house without adult supervision and I’m pretty sure they weren’t all running from wild animals; although from what I have heard some were acting like them.