Being a single parent is challenging enough, but being a single parent raising a teenager in today’s society can feel at times like you’re navigating the obstacle course on “American Ninja Warrior”… blindfolded. I mean from day one we have moments where we silently wish we had a manual or handbook to tell us how to handle certain situations and unfortunately no such manual exists, so we have to depend on our God given instinct and advice from our family to figure this parenting game out. I’ve found that parenting a teenager requires a completely different set of skills, than parenting say a school-age child. If you combine, the Newborn, Toddler, and School-age stages into one, that’s what the teenage years resemble. Honey, it’s a whole different ball game from here on out. For many of us, we believe the teenage years to be the home stretch, the time where we start envisioning ourselves relaxing on a beach somewhere sipping some delicious beverage and enjoying some much needed and well deserved adult time. Okay, maybe that’s not everyone’s dream… maybe it’s just mine…but we all have an idea of how we will reward ourselves once the kids are finally out of the house. Now before we hit those white sands and cerulean waters, we have to make it through these sneaky… I mean, teenage years. So here are my Top 3 Things That Make Raising A Teenager Challenging.
1. Social Media, Reality Shows & Music – If you have any form of social media, just a simple scroll up or down on your newsfeed can have you clutching your pearls or depending on where you are at least scrambling to turn the volume down. Now imagine being an impressionable teenager who has unlimited access to the internet and who’s constantly being blasted and overwhelmed with the unrealistic and most times perverse images on social media, television and music. Teenagers in this day and age, aren’t given the opportunity to just be teenagers.They often times feel this huge pressure by society and their peers to emulate what they see and hear. As a parent we have to continue to set boundaries and limits on what our children are being exposed to, because once that door to the unknown is open there is no turning back.
2. Communication – I’m not even going to sugar coat this… without communication your house is going to be a war zone. Having an open means of communication with your teenager is key. Yes, you are the parent and not their friend but, as the parent your child should still feel comfortable enough to come and talk to you about their problems. If not you, then they should have a trusted family member or friend within your community or tribe that they can talk to when things get heavy and they don’t know how to handle it. Teenagers and attitudes go hand-in-hand, it is just a fact of life, but having that open communication will help calm the unnecessary storms that can occur while they are trying to navigate these periods of mood swings and hormonal imbalances.
3. Knowing When to Let Go – Knowing when to step in and when to let them figure things out through trial and error, is a tough one. As moms we never want to see our children fail at anything and just like a toddler learning to walk or that school-age child learning to ride a bike we have to at some point take the training wheels off and let them figure things out on their own. The good news is that by the time your child reaches this stage, you’ve laid the groundwork and given them a strong moral foundation to build on so it makes it a little easier to watch them flourish in their new found independence.