If you’re a mother of teenagers, you already know this – there is no such thing as a consistently good relationship with young teens. They are sweet and mean, productive and procrastinating, honest and the best liars. You basically never know where you stand.
At this point, your obligations as a mom change drastically. You don’t just have to help your child with his math homework or prepare her meal for school. When it comes to teenage girls, you’ll often feel like you’ve lost all control and have no influence on them at all.
However, this is no reason to give up. With the right approach and some useful conversation starters for teens, you can build a great relationship with your teens. Well, at least for most of the time. Quality communication will make you their friend in addition to being their mother.
Let me spill my beans right here, right now. Here are the three most useful things I learned by raising three teens at the same time.
1. Always Stay Calm
…Or at least try to stay calm. Teenagers are in a phase of their life where they are stressed, hormonal, and often very confused. You’re the adult, so you’ve already gone through this phase.
As an adult, you must stay calm when things are really, really messy. If your teens are driving you crazy and you show it, they’ll just push harder. If they’re freaking out for something and you join them, you aren’t being their equally dramatic friend. That’s the time where you remain calm and basically – be an adult.
You have to understand that being a teenager is hard. It seems harsh and unfair to parents that have to put up with everything, worry constantly, and wonder if they’re doing every little thing right. But, it’s not easy for the teenager either.
So, next time when they start freaking out for the silliest thing, cry for basically nothing, or start fighting for no apparent reason, use the strongest tool you have at your disposal – be the adult. The times when you behaved erratically and couldn’t keep yourself calm are gone. It’s their turn now.
At times, this will be impossible. There comes a time where you have to put your foot down, yell, punish, and simply – let the steam out. But, whenever possible, be the adult you are.
2. Take Them Seriously
It’s no secret that teenagers lie. But, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t trust them. As controversial and dull as this sounds, there’s a great deal of importance in how you react to what your teenagers are telling you.
Take them seriously and don’t toss everything aside just because you caught your teen lying to you once. Double check, but listen and accept their things. If you find out that they’re lying, they’re in for a really big fight. But, before everything, you have to be the person they can rely on.
After a while, I realized that this was the only way to handle my three teenage girls. At that point, my girls came to me asking: help me do my homework and telling me if someone bullied them at school. They even told me about boys, asking for my advice.
I was lucky to have the three of them together. Yes, it was the hardest thing in the world, juggling three teenage girls. But, they were also best friends with each other. So, I wasn’t alone in this. If you’re a mom of three teenagers, you have this great advantage on your side.
3. Don’t Try Too Hard to Be Their Friend
Being a friend to a teenager is hard, especially when you’re also their mother. The importance of communication is hard to miss, which is why us parents constantly try to become our children’s best friends.
At some point, you need to understand that you can’t be their best friend and their mother at the same time. Yes, you should speak to your teenagers often and honestly, try to reason with them, ask them how their lives are going, etc. However, when you’re dealing with teenagers, you have to be strict – very often.
That’s where you lose them as friends and gain them as the spoiled teenagers they are. This is where you’re the one person that can get them on the right path, advise them, and basically – set them straight.
Accept that you can’t be the best friend of your teenager. You can be their friend, but first of all, you have to be their mother.
Emma Rundle is a mother of three, a housewife, and a blogger. She writes about her daily struggles as a wife and a mother of three teenage daughters. In her blog posts, you’ll learn about parenting, mistakes, and family.