The job of parenting has been one of the most challenging, yet rewarding roles bestowed upon me. We watch our babies evolve while quietly hoping the parent-child relationship will outlast any resistance brought on by adolescent hormones. Getting the right balance between being an authoritative figure and a friend is tricky. The advice has been “You are not your child’s friend – you are the parent.” My approach has been to be the parent but also remain an ally and trusted the source to help guide my daughter through the difficult moments. This task can be slightly easier when they feel you are on their team, not the opposing one.
Each parent has their own story about their kid’s teen years. It took me being a mom to understand just how much the impact of my actions can shape another human being’s life. It has helped me gain a stronger appreciation for my own mother.
There will be parents that offer a dose of teenage horror stories. We, ourselves were once teenagers, the battle scars can sometimes follow us into adulthood. Many readers may remember how it felt to be taken over by the wrath of our bodies. A fountain of emotions that has the ability to turn the sweetest girl or boy into a raging fire, testing even the most patient of parents. Hormones have a real impact on young adults. Doctors have confirmed these chemicals travel to different parts of the body producing varying effects affecting behavior. Not to mention, the amygdala, a spot close to the temporal lobe, deep within the brain plays a significant role in emotions. If we take into account these factors and dig deeper into the biological science of young adulthood, it is reasonable to leave a small room for error when dealing with adolescents. The hormonal factor should be taken into consideration when trying to manage certain behaviors. Of course, all within reason because hormones cannot be an excuse for rudeness, disrespect or any behavior that humiliates a parent in any way.
I’m the mother of a teenager, though, thankful not to have nightmares to share in the parenting department. There have been challenging moments requiring us to step back as we carefully evaluate how to manage own emotions to avoid being reactive. Every parent has a right to raise their children the way they see best. There are so many differences that affect how we discipline. The child’s personality, family history, and level of maturity all play a role in how we handle each child.
One of the most common issues we have a tough time with our young adults is probably dealing with teen-sass. It is not only frustrating, but it also hits a nerve when the smart-mouth kid challenges you. The rolling of the eyes, sucking their teeth, even criticism that can become personal, often hurtful. We raise them, tend to their needs, and make the necessary sacrifices to ensure their well-being. It is no wonder when they choose to throw sass our way we don’t take it well. So, how do you handle the cheeky comments?
When my daughter turned 14-years old, I wasn’t ready. Are any of us 100% prepared for our kids to grow up – unlikely. She is a driven, sensible and considerate young girl with a strong work ethic. Myself, the same way, I can push myself to the limit sometimes – she was doing the same.
One week during exams, she appeared stressed and not like herself. My favorite question during those days became “are you ok?” Let me tell you, that is the last question you want to ask your teenager repeatedly because eventually, you will get some “tude.” Her attitude was standoffish which was far from who she is, especially with me. A dozen times I’d ask, are things ok. The answer was always the same, “Yes, mom – I’m fine.” My heart was coming out of my chest. I felt at my core that she was not completely ok. I pushed and pushed to only receive a cold shoulder. It took me a bit of time to understand that all she needed was space to figure out what was happening to her body and emotions during the early time of adolescence. Once I gave her a breather, allowing her to be – she was able to take a time out.
Eventually, my daughter came back to a place where she felt comfortable enough to talk to me openly about everything that she was feeling during the beginning phase of her teens. We learned a lot about each other and our relationship. Sometimes, just giving each other time to process our emotions helps us see things clearer.
Parenthood is a learning process for most moms and dads. There are no set rules, like with everything else, different things work for different people. However, some tips can help during the challenging teenage years. I’d humbly suggest, keeping these few things in mind the next time your kid gives you their sassy tone.
Your Teenager is Not Your Baby Anymore
As much as we would like to keep them our little ones, we have to acknowledge that changes are imminent. Treating them like babies will not get them to listen any better. Speak to them with respect and ask for it to be reciprocated. Boundaries are also important and they should understand it but try not to dictate instead of having a conversation. They want to know what they are thinking is important too.
Respect that Teens Have a Mind of Their Own
Their brains and emotions are going through an unraveling that they probably cannot begin to understand. Be supportive, caring and compassionate because even if they don’t know – they need you. Patience and unconditional love go a long way.
Love them Especially when they are Difficult
Children want to feel love and know they have your love even when they are bad or sassy. I don’t recommend letting them get away with disrespect, just remind them you are there to support and so is your love – always
My only intention in managing sass the way I have is to try and maintain a balance. I want my daughter to understand that I am her mother, therefore, there are boundaries that should not be crossed. It’s also crucial for me to demonstrate I’m human too, not perfect and can still learn from her. Sometimes, showing them we can relate to them is the best form of connection during this taxing time of adolescence.