I am a pretty laid back parent and although I know my parenting style isn’t for everyone, there’s no getting away from the act that, at 12 and almost 15 I’ve had a pretty easy time so far over the tween and teen years.
And before you say it, I know, I’m touching wood as I type!
I know that I’m not going to convince you that my lack of screen time restrictions and my relaxed approach to bedtime are a good thing and that’s OK with me because what’s right for your children isn’t necessarily right for mine and vice versa.
I don’t think I’m doing too badly though with Miss Frugal recently winning an award for being the most outstanding pupil in her year group overall (I hate that type of award generally but we’re OK this time seeing as she won 😉) and Master Frugal so far being the recipient of three Head Teacher’s commendations in his first months at his new school. They’re both lovely, kind, caring and intelligent children and I regularly get compliments about just how amazing they are.
I’m pretty sure that you read that last paragraph and thought I was having a bit of an indulgent proud Mum moment and I get that and kind of agree with you. I’m not a fan of sharing my children’s achievements on Facebook or social media (actually, I am a fan but the kids aren’t so I usually don’t bother) but they are pretty awesome people and I always feel the need to back up my parenting style stories with some justification that I’m not raising children who misbehave and have no understanding of right from wrong just because I let them play on electronics and don’t have set bedtimes.
Anyway, back to the point of my post, I wanted to share a few tips that you might like to try out to reduce any stress, drama or conflict with your teens and tweens because as laid back as I am, I also have very high standards for behaviour and so far, my two have managed to not only meet these standards but by far exceed them.
Disclaimer: As I said above, these are the things I do and I know they work for my children, I totally get that they may not be right for your children so don’t feel like I’m telling you how to parent or saying that the way you do things is wrong.
Listen to them and let them know you respect their opinions – you’ve taught them to grow up to have an opinion so don’t discount what they think just because they’re children.
Pick your battles – there’s going to be a LOT of things that you need to make a stand on over the years so don’t turn everything into a battle. Save that for the big stuff.
Spend one on one time with them doing things they enjoy – My two enjoy our one on one time together so much and always have suggestions about what they’d like to do.
Understand but don’t excuse any behaviour issues – I totally understand that teenage hormones are a real thing but they still don’t make it acceptable to answer back, be rude and moody or to not behave in a way I would expect them to.
Teach them that actions have consequences – I don’t let them get away with poor behaviour and if punishment is needed then I always stick to what I say because the threat of it next time won’t work if they know I probably won’t stick to it.
Don’t over-punish – I know from experience how easy it is to dish out a punishment in the heat of the moment that doesn’t necessarily fit whatever it is that they’ve done wrong. These days I send them upstairs to stew while we all calm down before I let them know what their punishment will be (usually electronics related).
Laugh and have fun together – Having fun together is what it’s all about so we have regular family games nights and time together where we have fun. Plan to do things that you know you’ll all enjoy as often as you can manage.
Be realistic – I know that they’ll have blips and times when they’re far from perfect and I understand that they can’t be perfectly behaved children all the time. By letting them know that the odd lapse in behaviour isn’t the end of the world it encourages them to tell me when they’ve done something wrong.
Teach them that they need to contribute to the household chores – we all make the mess so we all tidy it up! My children understand that this is a given so don’t moan* when they’re asked to help out. (*OK, they still moan but they do it while they moan ;-))
NO energy drinks or drinks with high levels of caffeine in them – I’ve written about our energy drink ban before so I won’t bore you again other than to say that when I have relented in the past and let them have an energy drink I’ve definitely noticed a difference in their behaviour. There’s a reason that a lot of these drinks say they’re for adults only and I can’t for the life of me understand why parents would let children have them on a regular basis.
Understand what’s important to them – What might seem relatively minor to us might be a huge deal to our children for many reasons so try to understand when something is really important to them.
Understand peer pressure and the need to fit in – I’m not saying give in to peer pressure here at all but it really helps your relationship with your children if you try to understand how they feel. Think about how difficult it can make life for your children when they don’t have something all their friends have or they aren’t allowed to do something their friends are all doing. Yes, you will have your reasons for not allowing whatever it is but just put yourself in their shoes and see if there’s a compromise you can reach.
What do you think?
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