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DD#2 is drying and stretching her wings getting ready for her first solo flight. 2 years ago, I called her Toddler Woman. Now, she is a self assured, confident young lady with a plan for her life. It is hard letting go, but my faith in God and in my kids makes it easier. I learned letting go is mandatory if I want to remain in their lives.

Here are a few absolute truths about teenagers I have learned. Some from my years as a teen, much from watching friends and family send young adults into the world, being friends with these young people and from sending my own children off to spread their wings.

Feel free to add to the list. We can all learn and grow by sharing each other's life's lessons.


Respect is earned! If you want their respect, you must show respect. This includes respect for their personhood, thoughts, ideas, goals and privacy.

Teens are busy exploring the world of different idealogies beyond Mommy's apron strings. This is normal even when there is no outside influences. You cannot keep alternate information from a kid, they have imaginations, they still develop their own thoughts as their brains grow. A variety of outside input keeps their inner thoughts from getting too bizzarre.

They need freedom to explore their inner world of thoughts and ideas. Any person who wishes to control this in a teen is considered a life sucking vampire. They will fight for their life.......They will win.

If you wish to be part of a teen's inner world, you must have respect and be trustworthy. You must be able to discuss things maturely and intellectually and as an equal. Leave emotionalism out of it. Be thankful your child is capable of deep thought, he's not as shallow as you think.

Teens are experts at nailing hypocracy and contradictions in adult lives. They will convict you like a federal prosecutor on a terrorist, they won't let it go. Confess, admit your guilt, change your ways or your beliefs, ask for mercy and forgiveness. You earn respect this way.

Any teen responsible enough to hold a job, pay to get their license, aquire a vehicle, afford insurance and maintenance costs, is responsible enough to drive.

Teens don't want to move. Younger kids will embrace the adventure, but not teens. Teens need the concrete base of an unchangable home because everything inside and outside a teen is changing. Even if a teen is homeschooled, has no friends or social life and no opportunity for them, he doesn't want to move. I don't think you can willingly get a teen to change rooms under the same roof.
 

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Luara

You have the list for a great book. A chapter for each statement and it will be a best seller. Nice work.
Now tough part is!!!! many parents start parenting when they are teens, when it's a mess. The teen is already developed and has been molded to who he is by teen age. If parents would think of the teen years when they are 1-12 then teen years would be a piece of cake.

We are finishing with our 2nd and last and it has been pure pleasure for both every year.

Nice work on the list.
 

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Very nicely put.

I had a really hard time when mine were teens. I think some of it was their personal chemistry, and some of it was us as parents. They are early 20's now, and 2 have become awesome adults. The jury is still out on DD3. We are raising her baby, who is 18 months now. Maybe everything will be better this time around.


You seem to have a very good grip on teens , thanks for putting it into words.
 

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Thank you. I've had some very good parenting coaches who love us enough to smack me between the eyes when I need it. Those 12-15 year olds are especially tough for us moms and equally tough for the kids. It is worth it, though.

DD22 and I talk several time a week as she shares her life and her excitements with me. She actually takes the advice I give her into consideration and now her and SIL are buying their first home with just enough land to have a small homestead. She WAS paying attention after all! Last week, I told her what I was doing for her sisters and she told me those things are what make me the coolest mom. I never thought I would hear that compliment from one of my kids!

1GandJ1
If parents would think of the teen years when they are 1-12 then teen years would be a piece of cake.
I had many Mommy mentors explain this to me by asking, "If you can't deal with a rebellious toddler, how the heck are you going to deal with a rebellious teen?" That certainly made me stop and think it through when I had the Tasmanian Devils spinning through my house!
 

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Laura said:

I had many Mommy mentors explain this to me by asking, "If you can't deal with a rebellious toddler, how the heck are you going to deal with a rebellious teen?" That certainly made me stop and think it through when I had the Tasmanian Devils spinning through my house!


Yup, if a child is going to talk back and not listen What make you think that it will stop when they are as tall as you......

Here's for your list.
Always make sure that 3 + remarks are given to balance out the 1 - correction.

When the teen is old enough to think and ration out information you may find that the teen will realize that they are not interested in the parents way of living life. Let them be their own person. If you have done your job to the best of your ability then you got what you got...... reap what you sew
 

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teens biggest problem is, in general, lousy parents. they see the hypocrisy. everyone telling them to not do drugs but their parents and adult friends do and often sell it as well. everyone telling them to not have sex, except that many of their parents are jumping from bed to bed. parents say they love their kids but are spending absolutely no time with them. they grow up not respecting adults.
 

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We spent almost -every minute, every penny and every ounce of energy on our children. We were proud and very happy, as each one took those steps into adulthood. We made sure that we were honest with them and respected them and their opinions, beliefs and listened with our hearts as well as our ears. Each child is different, maturing at a different rate--you can and must NEVER compare your childern--it doesn't work.. Ours are now in their 30's and we are as close as ever. Now, the fun has begun-- ALL over again-- with their chosen loved ones and grandbabies coming into our lives!!
 

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1GandJ1 said:
Yup, if a child is going to talk back and not listen What make you think that it will stop when they are as tall as you......
So what's your solution? The two problems you mention are (still) going on in high gear in my 6 y.o., and I would like nothing more than to show him how to turn that around.
 

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Well done Laura.

Dente deLion - Reward good behavior, hold accountable for bad behavior. Will give details if you are still interested.

Marlene
 

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Thanks Marlene, and yes, I am interested in something a bit more concrete (from anyone). We've been following that general principle for years and yet on and on he goes....
 

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Dente deLion said:
Thanks Marlene, and yes, I am interested in something a bit more concrete (from anyone). We've been following that general principle for years and yet on and on he goes....

What worked pretty well for us was being very clear and specific, not getting into any discussion when expectations weren't met, and being prompt with consequences in a very matter-of-fact way. We also had a "3 times" rule: I'd say something once, give only one sweet-voiced reminder ("just to let you know, sweetie, this is the second time I'm telling you to..."), then if I had to say something a third time, there was trouble. Talking back, complaining and yelling about things was allowed only in the privacy of his/her own room with the door closed and no one else present; then I pretended that the door was soundproof and it was a private conversation. The child was allowed back to the public areas of the house only when he/she could be a properly social being.
It helps to make sure your boy is well-exercised, and not overly hungry or tired when you try to accomplish good discipline.
 

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ajaxlucy said:
What worked pretty well for us was being very clear and specific, not getting into any discussion when expectations weren't met, and being prompt with consequences in a very matter-of-fact way. We also had a "3 times" rule: I'd say something once, give only one sweet-voiced reminder ("just to let you know, sweetie, this is the second time I'm telling you to..."), then if I had to say something a third time, there was trouble. Talking back, complaining and yelling about things was allowed only in the privacy of his/her own room with the door closed and no one else present; then I pretended that the door was soundproof and it was a private conversation. The child was allowed back to the public areas of the house only when he/she could be a properly social being.
It helps to make sure your boy is well-exercised, and not overly hungry or tired when you try to accomplish good discipline.
Thank you! We adopted the 1-2-3 system several months ago, and have had some good luck with it (and sometimes not). I think there are two larger conditions at play here, though: one is that what is important to us is not important to DS, so the things we say just don't register in his brain; and the other is that he doesn't pause to think before talking or acting. I have no idea what to do about either of those - it may just take (even more) time.

I do like the idea of allowing him to express contrary comments in the privacy of his room - I'll give that one a try.
 

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I tried the 1-2-3 system with my oldest and all it did was teach him that I did not mean it the first two times. With the rest of them I say it ONE time, making sure they heard it, and they are expected to either obey instantly, or politely ask for more time with a good reason (such as, can I finish reading this page first)
 

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Excellent list!

My key learning's about teens so far...

- Spending time with them is of course important, but perhaps most important is to "be there" when they are ready and eager to talk. My son communicates in bursts, when he is good and ready. But when he does open up the communication is very productive and leads to further communication about additional subjects. Most of our best discussions have been while in the truck driving somewhere.

- Patients. This is one I struggle with mightily as a father. I grew up with a father who did not spend much time with me until I was about 16 at which time I went to work for him at his service station. One of my burning memories from that time was my fathers comment, "if you want something done right you need to do it yourself". This said after he would get frustrated with me not performing a job the correct way and he would just go do it himself.

I have never said that to my son and have spent far more time with him so far than my dad did with me, but I still have problems with having patients when showing him how to do things. There have been a number of times where I have left him out of a project just so I could get it done in a timely manner with little frustration. What I should have done is include him in many of these projects so he could learn the trade, how to use the tools etc.

The time spent with him is far more important than getting the project done or lessening my frustrations with mistakes and such. After all, making mistakes is how we all learn. I deeply regret not being a better father in this area.
 

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RockyGlen said:
I tried the 1-2-3 system with my oldest and all it did was teach him that I did not mean it the first two times.
I was concerned about that, too, but DS knows that if he does something "off the charts" (like ride his bike into the street or something), we go straight to three. Most of the time, though, his transgressions are just annoying (like talking back), and he usually stops after a "one." It's when he gets a dozen "ones" in a day that I start losing the calm voice!
 

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Dente delion - Being consistent at all times is very important. Also I agree with the idea that all the 1-2-3 lesson does is teach your child he has the count of 1 and 2 before anything with take place. Instant actions should have instant results. After all he will not get three chances when he choose to run out into traffic right?

Start off praising for even things you do not feel are necessary, tell him how proud you are when he shares, is kind to someone, sits quietly, eats all his dinner. Have a consequence, such as a 1 minute time out for ANY infraction of broken rule. Even if it requires 2 hours of picking him up and putting him the time out spot(not his room, have it be where you can see what he is doing) -- only let him rejoin the rest of the family after he as actually done the 1 minute time out. Once the time out is accomplish there is no need to extend his punishment by a lecture. It's over - start back to praising for a job well done. Tell him you are proud of his being a big boy and accepting the consequences for his actions.

If you have to empty his room of every item but a sleeping pallet on the flour - have him earn back his belongs.

Tell yourself as many times as it takes, that each time you allow a rule to be broken YOU are choosing to set your child back a major step. It's your job to not only make the rules but to enforce them. This might mean in your having to also stay home because a rule has been broken and that is the consequences to your son. Tell yourself that is your consequences for not being in control yet :)

AND always remember the most important job you will ever have is parenting your child into being a well balanced, happy with being a responsible, dependable adult.

Hugs,
Marlene
 

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Dente de Lion, I don't know if this will help, but with my two foster kids, we have laps as a 'consequence'.I don't like the 1-2-3 system. I say something once and it will be obeyed then or there is a set amount of laps to run around the garage. I tell them that they are free to argue, talk back, ignore me, whatever, as much as they want. Then I tell them that they will be in EXCELLENT shape. Most definitely not one of America's overweight kids. So far the record is 150 laps in one shot. I figure that I really can't make them change their behavior, they have to do that. I'm just trying to provide a little incentive. We used to do barn chores, but now it's so clean it shines. :) Maybe try finding something that your kid doesn't really like but also doesn't really hate (this isn't supposed to be torture). or something physical. The biggest thing (and hardest, I know) is to not have it bother you. Make it the kids problem, not yours. Maybe try reading 'parenting with love and logic' by somebody Cline. It has a few helps.
 
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