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Loving Your Teenager

(In Spite of Themselves)

INTRODUCTION

This booklet is written for those of you who didn’t stop to think thirteen years and nine months ago. Because you didn’t, you are now faced with this alien being commonly called a teenager. So what do you do to survive the next five years? Well you could drown the little beastie but that seems rather pointless after already investing the best years of your life in its growth.

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No a much better idea is to read this booklet.

It’s being written by a parent who’s been there, done that and is now, thank goodness, a grandmother.

Nobody is an expert on child rearing. If they say they are, they need a reality check. The ideas expressed in this booklet are just one ordinary woman’s opinions. I have no degrees in child behavior but I have something way more valuable, hindsight. This hindsight allows me to look back, see what worked, what didn’t and give you the benefit of my knowledge. The first piece of knowledge is:

KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

This is extremely important. How you think of the teen years you’re either approaching or now into will have a definite bearing on how well you do. No matter what anyone else has led you to believe, teenagers are a blast. Sure babies are cuddly and cute but then they turn into the terrible twos, threes and fours. Five through twelve has some bearable moments if you have the patience to witness T-ball, beginning band concerts and innumerable sports events. But, for pure entertainment value, the teen years can’t be beat.

Where else can you see such pathos, such drama, such comedy? And all within one twenty-four hour period. The mood swings alone will keep you young and vibrant just trying to keep up. Add to this, the blossoming of reason and hey, this clump of nothing you started with is now a walking, talking marvel. Of course this walking, talking marvel can sometimes be a pain in the you know what so you’ll need to keep your:

SENSE OF HUMOR

Especially when your little sweetheart is ranting, raving and having a _ _ _ _ fit for no reason other than you are breathing in their space. Yes, you could deck them but then they are controlling you, not you them.

No what you should do in this situation is merely smile or even laugh. Once they realize they’re not upsetting you, they’ll do one of two things. Say “you’re hopeless” and stomp off in a huff, leaving you with peace and quiet (not a bad thing) or they’ll ask you why you’re smiling. You then answer, “I was thinking how much you remind me of myself when I was your age.”

This should stop them in their tracks — “Like their mother or father — oh yuk”. Just watch their behavior change. The whole point of rebelling is to be different. With one little statement, you’ve taken away their motivation. Chances are they will try to upset you again, so you’ll smile your little knowing smile and before long, they’ll get the message:

You can’t be their victim if you’re smiling.

And if you consciously think back to your teen years, your teen is probably no worse than you were.

Maybe just a teensy bit more spoiled but who’s to blame for that? The object here is to survive their hormonal changes while coping with your own. A sense of humor will do that. It will lighten your load considerably. True there is acceptable and unacceptable behavior; but, if your child is merely running off at the mouth occasionally and not doing drugs or drinking, consider yourself lucky.

A mouthy teenager is only trying to assert their independence. The same goes for their hair and clothes. If both are clean, why should you care? Your friends will understand, they are either sharing your dilemma or have already gone through it. The key to understanding your teenager is:


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