Parenting Teenagers

Parenting Teenagers

I know why our stay at Daisy Lodge was referred to as a ‘Therapeutic Break’ rather than just a holiday. The staff there go to such lengths to ensure that each family have a relaxing time. All our needs were catered for. The result was that all of our family were very relaxed and interacted happily with each other, in a way that sadly, doesn’t often happen at home.

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Our three children even posed happily for a photograph before we left. The last time that I recall Simon and his sisters willingly getting their photograph taken together was in 2011!

Unfortunately, the Daisy Lodge ‘spell’ wore off soon after we returned home: our youngest two have retreated to their caves (bedrooms).They only emerge when their need for food supercedes their fixation with their electronic devices.

Communication is once again monosyllabic most of the time.

The exception to this being our eldest daughter. At 21 she has emerged from adolescence and she dazzles me with her wit and wisdom, along with her many other qualities.

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She lives away from home, is financially independent and works part time to support herself while studying for a university degree.

During one of Rachel’s recent visits home, my youngest daughter was being especially perverse and was pushing all my buttons. I was getting more and more frustrated. When my youngest had left the room, my eldest daughter turned to me and said “Don’t worry Mum, I used to be just like her and look how well I turned out.”

I replied “Rachel, I can assure you that very thought is the only thing that keeps me from signing myself into a home for the mentally bewildered.”

This week I was scheduled to take my youngest daughter school uniform shopping. She will be starting at Limavady High School on the 1st September, the same excellent school that her three older siblings attended.

I certainly wasn’t looking forward to this task. Last year it was just awful, I cried the whole time. This past weekend while sorting through bags of old school uniforms to take them to the Charity Shop I cried my eyes out while removing Leah’s name from her old uniforms.

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Happily for us, Rachel my eldest, offered to help us with the school uniform shopping. She gave up her two days off work to drive the 140 mile round trip home for this purpose.

Rachel read through the uniform list issued by the school, drew up a shopping list and off we headed to Coleraine to the shop where we always buy our school uniforms.

Not a tear was shed, only chitter and chatter and even some laughter.

So for any parents reading this who are in the trenches with uncooperative teenagers and feeling battle weary, I say to you:

Keep loving your teenager.

Keep hugging them.

Keep the lines of communication open.

Make sure they know that no matter what, you will always be there for them.

Let them know that home is where they will always be loved and will always belong.

Then some day, like me, you will discover that your uncooperative teenager has emerged from the “stormin’ hormones” and it’s all been worth it!

I recently discovered Brené Brown’s Parenting Manifesto, excerpted from her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

I think that Brené has so much compassion and wisdom.

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