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Raising Teens: The Good, The Bad and the Belligerent

– Posted in: Guest Posts, home, life, Parenting

 

 

This time, on my Guest Post Series, I am proud to present to you all, my dear friend and blogger, Marcia who blogs at Menopausal Mother.  MarciaShe is the most funniest blogger I have ever met in the world of blogging. I have often found myself falling off the chair laughing hard after reading many of her posts which were funny and at the same time insightful on the topic she discussed. In ‘Raising Teens…’, Marcia talks about her perspectives on handling this ‘special class of age’ including its  good and its bad.  If you dare to question her authority on the subject, mind you she  has first hand experience in dealing with teenagers since she lives with one or two of them at her house. Yes,  her words of wisdom are based on real life!

Marcia’s full bio can be seen at the end of this post. Smile

 

Raising Teens…

 

There’s a popular saying that “Raising teens is like trying to nail jello to a wall”—and this is a perfect metaphor for parenting teenagers. In some aspects, it’s like raising wild animals….with drivers’ licenses and a pension for devouring everything in the refrigerator. They can be moody, self absorbed, insecure, impulsive, dramatic and sullen. But they’re also loving and dependent on sound, parental guidance despite an attitude of indifference.

 

Teenagers- Raising them

 

The teenage years are an odd, transitional time for any parent who has difficulty accepting that their child has reached an age where establishing their own identity is critical to their development. A teen’s need for independence, coupled with the raging hormones wreaking havoc on their bodies, is enough to make any parent want to throw in the towel. Others face the sudden urge to book a one way ticket to Bora Bora where they can gleefully sip on Mai Tais until their children have grown up and moved out into their own, postage stamp–sized apartment.As difficult as it is to hang on, parents also need to know when to let go. Teenagers need to exert their independence and find a creative outlet to express their individuality. This may mean a mohawk and purple hair dye that leaves them looking like they just came off an assembly line of a My Little Pony factory. If they decide to paint their room black and glue hubcaps to the ceiling—let them. You never know when you might need an extra hubcap for your car. Give your teens the space they need and save your battles for more important things that you will have to stand firm on, such as their health, safety, relationships and their education. Despite their belligerent and combative behavior, (which can be triggered in a nanosecond if there’s no milk for their cereal or God forbid you wash their jeans with your own clothes), stand your ground on the important issues and don’t get caught up in any power plays. They’ll complain about the food you cook (not a good time to serve tuna surprise casserole), the car you drive (“I’m not riding in an old, loser minivan that seizes up at every stop light!”) and will “borrow” your good shoes (which you will never see again), even though they derive immense pleasure in pointing out your wardrobe faux pas.

 

One of the BIGGEST complaints from parents in regard to raising teenagers is their child’s lack of respect for anyone above the age of thirty (which they consider geriatric). It’s important to remember that at this age, teenagers feel misunderstood by adults and are sometimes wary around them. Remind yourself of how YOU felt at their age, and tap into those emotions— when you were easily influenced by your peers and trying desperately to fit in. I spent an inordinate amount of time as a teen holed up in my room with celebrity gossip magazines and a bag of chocolate chip cookies pilfered from the kitchen pantry. I had no interest at all in what my parents were doing. I was content to live in my own, little teen bubble, as long as I had access to a phone and plans for the weekend.

 

Respect is a two-way street; you can’t sling derogatory names at one another in the heat of an argument with your teen or display any adult tantrums no matter how frustrated you are (try hiding in your closet in the fetal position or raid your secret stash of chocolate—the calories don’t count if no one sees you eating it). Teens follow by example, and whether or not they’ll ever acknowledge it (highly unlikely), you’re still their first role model. Respect their opinions even if they vary from your own and refrain from criticism or judgmental comments. Allow them to fight their own battles and let them know it’s okay to make mistakes, as long a they acknowledge it and learn from it. You can’t make all their choices for them, but you CAN provide the tools in their upbringing to help them make responsible decisions.

The number one key to a successful relationship with your teen is open communication. Be a good listener rather than inserting your opinion into everything they say, and be prepared to hear things you may not like. Don’t overreact; if you start to lecture a teen, their eyes will glaze over like a deer hypnotized by the headlights of an oncoming truck and they’ll have the attention span of a chihuahua with A.D.D. Consider it a gift if they confide in you—it means you’ve earned their precious trust and that they respect your opinion (even though they’d rather die than admit this).

 

Give your teens a wide berth while they struggle through their growing pains but hold them close to your heart. Tell them every day that they are loved and appreciated. One day the teen who stresses you to the point of gray hairs and baldness will turn into a responsible, young adult who will make you proud. You may not ever get those shoes they borrowed back again, but your heart will swell once you see them walking in them.

 

BIO:

Marcia Kester Doyle is the author of the humorous blog Menopausal Mother, where she muses on the good, the bad and the ugly side of menopausal mayhem. Give her some wine and a jar of Nutella and she’ll be your best friend. Marcia’s work has appeared on Scary Mommy, In The Powder Room, the Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop, Mamapedia, Bloggy Moms, Messy Moms Radio, The Woven Tale Press, the Life Well Blogged series and was voted top 25 in the Circle Of Moms contest 2013. Other than at her blog, You can also find her at Facebook and Twitter.

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37 Comments… add one

Brittany C. 2 September, 2013, 8:29 am

My girls are still young but I’ve heard all kinds of stories about the teenage years! I guess I better prepare myself early!
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Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 9:51 am

Get ready for the roller coaster ride!
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Michelle F. 2 September, 2013, 8:46 am

These are really good tips and a great perspective on raising teenagers! I still have toddlers but I’m going to keep this in mind for when they are teens!
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Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 9:54 am

I raised four of them and every one of them was SO different! You just have to be patient and give lots of love during this time.
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Michelle 2 September, 2013, 10:07 am

Good advice Marcia. I often find myself at wits end dealing with mine…I feel like I need an instruction manual some days. LOL And there are times I need to pick my battles better! Thanks for the reminder!
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Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 10:14 am

Thanks, Michelle! Glad you liked it. Next time they drive you crazy just step back and take a deep breath….and count to three….
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Judy W 2 September, 2013, 10:39 am

Raising teens can make any parent feel crazy! My husband always said the word “stupid” was stamped across our forehead until our kids were in their 20s. They thought everything we said and did was stupid. But once they hit their 20s that’s when mom and dad finally weren’t so stupid after all and they actually called asking for our opinion and help. I learned to pick and choose my battles with them and we all survived those teen years!
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Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 12:21 pm

Then you know exactly what I’m talking about, right, Judy? It’s funny how they finally come back for your opinion once they’ve grown!
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Amanda 2 September, 2013, 10:43 am

Thank you for the inspiring post. I have two teen boys and a tween girl. It gets hard at times, but I try to lead by example. I always remind myself, Children learn what they live. I also try to remember what it was like. I almost cried when I had to buy my daughter her first bras…

I’m just glad they all still like me.
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Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 12:23 pm

You sound like an awesome mom to your teens–that’s the key–give them love and respect and space to grow.
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Deb 2 September, 2013, 10:57 am

Excellent article! I have a 16 year old daughter, and she’s making my grey hairs turn grey! ;)

Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 12:25 pm

Ahhh you are right in the throes of it! Hang in there—once they hit their twenties they actually are lovable again.. Lol! Just think if all the stories you will have to tell the grandkids one day!
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Nicole Nenninger 2 September, 2013, 11:15 am

Great post! I have 4 teens and while these years can be challenging, it is also a privilege to see my beautiful children grow up. Since I have 3 girls, I make it a point not only to tell them they are loved, but to also say to them often that they are beautiful. They also know that beauty is an inside job–you may be “pretty” (and that is subjective), but if you are a witch, then that doesn’t translate to beauty according to my definition. Beauty is an essence that emanates from within. With all the stress to be “perfect” coming from the media and society, I let my girls know they are more than enough and they are good enough just as they are.
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Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 12:26 pm

You are doing it right, Nicole. That’s awesome—young girls especially need to hear this!
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Sarah Almond 2 September, 2013, 12:04 pm

Great advice! I have two kids that often act like teenagers, and I’m unprepared now? Whoa… I’m in for it. Thanks for imparting your wisdom and sprinkling it with little funnies. I love it!
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Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 12:29 pm

Thanks, Sarah!!! I think your kids are adorable–I’m planning on being around a long time, so I’ll look forward to watching your kids grow–and I promise to hold your hand during the teens years Lol!
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MJM 2 September, 2013, 12:09 pm

I’m a momless mom, and I’m raising teens…I can so relate to this post. Awesome…thanks for sharing and for the wonderful advice.

Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 12:31 pm

You are a strong woman, handling this as a single parent. I’m glad you liked the advice here, but I’m betting you are already doing a great job raising your teens! XO
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Karen @BakingInATornado 2 September, 2013, 1:54 pm

I have to say, as I struggle to survive these years with 2 teens, that no matter how difficult it gets, we always end the day with “I love you”. Those 3 words, spoken no matter what the current circumstance, are a great reminder of what’s important.

Wonderful article, Marcia.

Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 6:07 pm

That’s the best thing you can do, Karen. They always need to hear it even if they don’t always show it, right? Glad you liked the post! XO
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Coralie 2 September, 2013, 3:51 pm

My daughter will be 9 this year so I have a few more before we hit the teens but she is already a little sassy. I try to reprimand with love and patience but sometimes we are at odds. We talk a lot and I think that helps keep us close.
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Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 6:08 pm

Yes! Keep those lines of communication OPEN at all times–this is critical! So far, you are off to a good start!
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Carla 2 September, 2013, 4:47 pm

I’m constantly having to remind my husband of how he felt, acted, was when he was a teenager so he’ll cut the boy some slack but it’s like he has some sort of mental block there. Drives me crazy! Respect is important regardless of age. I’m always a mom to admit when I made a mistake and apologize for it.
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Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 6:09 pm

That’s awesome, Carla! It takes a strong person to admit fault to their kids. But in the end they will respect you more for being honest with them!
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Launna 2 September, 2013, 6:01 pm

I have another teenager on the way up… not sure I would survive my oldest… as sweet as my youngest is… she may take me down… lol

I will try to remember these ideas… I am trying to pick my battles :)

Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 9:59 pm

My youngest is my toughest, too! Hang in there!
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The Insomniac's Dream 2 September, 2013, 6:08 pm

While this great advice, you’ve reduced me to a trembling ball of terror. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the closet in the fetal position, eyes shut tight.

One year and counting until the teens.

I don’t wanna.

Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 10:00 pm

Don’t forget to bring your secret stash of chocolate with you….
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Talya Tate Boerner 2 September, 2013, 6:14 pm

Although I loved every year/age, I am so glad my ‘kids’ are now 20 and 24!

Menopausalmother 2 September, 2013, 10:00 pm

I LOVE the young adult stage!!!!! My daughters are my best friends now–it truly is a great time in life with them!
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Juliana RW 3 September, 2013, 6:30 am

I hear few stories too about not easy raising teenagers. I hope ours not too difficult :D Now, they are just 7 and 2 years old.
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Menopausalmother 3 September, 2013, 12:09 pm

You still have time to lay the ground work and show lots of love along the way!
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Donna 3 September, 2013, 10:12 am

Marcia, so true! Thanks for the reminder, I needed this reminder for my pre-tweeb…who will be 12 going on 30 soon! It is not even as if I don’t have the experience having two older children, but our youngest is throwing me for a loop and I’m a blithering parent because of her antics! I don’t know who the parent is at times, her, or me?!lol! Great post!

Menopausalmother 3 September, 2013, 12:11 pm

I totally understand! My oldest 3 were fairly easy—they had their crazy moments but we sailed through it. This last child though–holy cow was I unprepared for this kid! But he is almost 18 and we are walking through this TOGETHER and getting closer by the day. He has turned out to be quite an amazing young man despite the hell he put me through for a few years Lol!
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Anita Breeze 3 September, 2013, 11:46 am

Raising teens is quite the ride. My daughter went through a phase of rainbow hair, all black clothes and multiple piercings. All that is gone now and she looks pretty normal again, but I just let her do it. I believe in self expression and the less I reacted, the less she felt the need to prove something.
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Menopausalmother 3 September, 2013, 12:12 pm

Anita, you handled that beautifully! You are an AWESOME parent!
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Adrian 7 September, 2013, 12:24 am

I am in the same boat – raising my last teen and he is getting on my last nerve. He’s never belligerant with me, he’s just goofy and does weird stuff. Today, he did something really dumb and I could have just murdered him! But I just have to keep reminding myself that teens just haven’t matured yet – their brains literally haven’t completed their development yet. So I guess I just have put up with it for a few more years. Seems like 20 is the time they magically turn back into rational people.
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