GUEST POST: Surviving the Teen Years, by A.L. Waddington

Jan 15, 2014 by

GUEST POST: Surviving the Teen Years, by A.L. Waddington

Hi, everyone!  My guest blogger today is A.L. Waddington, author of Essence, the first installment in the EVE series of books. The EVE series pulls threads from young adult fiction, time travel science fiction and romance, and weaves them all together into a unique tapestry. It’s fitting that the tag line for Essence (which will be released on January 16) is “Our minds often wander, but can our souls?” A.L. Waddington is not only an author, though, but a mom. She sent me this great post about what I have to look forward to (God help me).

Surviving the Teen Years

I look at parents of young children and smile when I hear them complain about their two-year-old or their five-year-old and the antics they manage to get into. All I can do is politely offer my empathy and think silently to myself, ‘they haven’t seen anything yet’. After raising three teens I’ve learned a couple things.

10.  Teach them to cook at least one meal from scratch. Regardless of whether you have a son or daughter, they should know how to fix at least one meal by their self so that they can honestly say, ‘yes, I know how to cook’ and maybe they will appreciate your effort a little more when dinner is served.

9.  Teach them how to thoroughly clean the house from top to bottom for the same aforementioned reasons.

8.  Trust them…that they will make the right decision when the time comes. Be it deciding their class schedule for the following year, the clothes they wear, who they choose to date or taking the car out for the evening. This one can be particularly difficult, especially if your child is anything like one of mine. But there comes a time when you have to hold your breath and pray that you raised them well enough to do the right thing. Who knows, they might even surprise you or in my case, shock the hell out of you!

7. Accept them for who they are, not who you want them to be. I know it is easy to have all these dreams for your child when they are young, that they will grow up to be the star quarterback, prom queen, or honor roll student who goes on to college to become a doctor, lawyer or some other six-figure profession. It’s natural. We all want the best for our children. However, there comes a time when dreams must give way to reality. Some children show an aptitude for science and math and others for English. Some do not like sports or enjoy 
hanging out with a big crowd and that’s fine. Allow them to cater to their own personalities and abilities to grow into who they want to be.

6. Let the punishment fit the crime and the child. A set standard set of household rules is not always best. For general rules, such as time of curfew, chores and such, this does work. But if your children are anything like mine, the bigger discipline issues are much trickier. I have one child that I could hang upside down by his toes, literally beat him senseless for whatever infraction and he would get down, flip me off and do it again just to show me he could. And then another child who would do something she’s not allowed to and all I would have 
to do is look sideways at her and raise my voice a mere octave and she would crumble under the knowledge that she had disappointed me. No other discipline would be warranted and she would never repeat the behavior. Every child has their own unique personality and temperament and what works on one child, even siblings, might not work so well on another. Every infraction should be tailored to that individual child. And no, I am not advocating beating a child senseless or hanging them by their toes…

5.  Try not to say anything bad about the teen your teen is ‘dating’.  As hard as that may be, the more you voice your disapproval, the harder they will fight to keep that person in their life. And just because they are ‘dating’ in high school does not mean they are going to marry that person. If their boyfriend/girlfriend is that ‘bad’ of a person, their friends are most likely already telling them so and they do not need you to confirm what they are already aware of. Did your parent’s always like the person you dated when you were sixteen?

4.  Listen without judgment or offering to ‘fix’ their problems.  Sometimes your teen just needs an ear to vent to just like we do without someone offering advice or solutions on how to make things better. You will be surprised how much you will learn about your children by keeping your stories to yourself and your mouth closed.

3.  As busy as life is, make dinner time a priority. I know it is not always easy with work schedules and extracurricular activities galore, but this is a must. Taking thirty minutes out of the evening to turn off cell phones, television and all other gadgets and sitting down at the table as a family and talking about the day’s events can keep the channels of communication open.

2.  Take a deep breath, relax and remember that you were once a teenager trying to figure out who you are and where you fit in in this world. They are doing the best they can, just like you were.

1.  Always keep your sense of Humor. This is critical in order to keep your sanity. Remember you were young once too!

Be sure to check out A.L. Waddington’s website, and enter her grand giveaway celebrating the launch of Essence! Details can be found here.

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