Navigating Parenting with a Teenager?
A guest post by Stefanie Pisarkiewicz,LPC
Parenting is hard! It doesn’t matter how many kids you have or how old they are, it can be very stressful. As it is very unlikely that you and your partner were raised exactly the same way, most likely, you have differing view points from time to time on how to handle various parenting situations. This can cause some extra stress in the relationship. As your children age and become teenagers, they usually become smart enough to have figured out how to “play” their parents. So how can you help lessen this? I would suggest not making any big decisions regarding your kids without your partner. You and your partner will need to sit down and define what a big decision is.
Here are some parenting tips:
1. Activities: I would suggest, as a rule of thumb, that if both parents know the friends and parents involved and already approve of activities with said friends, one parent can give the okay. If not, both parents need to be consulted. At least one parent should always meet a new friend and at least talk with the parents of said friends if a ride if given by the friend’s parent or if going to the friend’s home.
2. Dating: Parents need to decide together what age is appropriate to begin dating and what types of dating are appropriate at each age. For example, can a fourteen year old go on a group date? This is a very personal decision and needs to be based on both parents’ values and the maturity of the child. The same age does not need to apply for all the children in the home. One of your kids might be ready at fifteen to go on a solo date while another might not be ready until sixteen.
3. Consequences: As a couple, you can have some predetermined consequences set up. For example, you may have a rule that if a teenager is late for curfew, they must stay in the next night. But there will always be things you could not have planned for. In these situations, it is best not to give a consequence when mad. Sit down and talk out what happened with your partner and decide together what makes sense for the situation.
4. Communication with others: Both parents need to be on board on what is communicated to friends and families. Most likely, it is okay to share accomplishments but is it okay to share when something goes wrong? If so, with whom? How does your teen feel about this? I believe we need others outside our immediate home to talk with but there needs to be a limit and our family needs to be comfortable with it (and, FYI, social media is never the place to vent about our kids). For example, if it is difficult for your parent to know Grandma is told that Johnny failed Algebra but you feel uncomfortable not sharing this information, can a compromise be reached. Maybe you will only share this information with your Mom when your partner is not around and your mom agrees to not bring it up around Johnny or your partner. If your mom cannot follow these requests, maybe it is time for you to find someone else to confide in that your partner feels more comfortable with.
For the most part, they are no right or wrong answers in parenting but there are right or wrong answers for you and your partner. Communication is key! Seeking out a third party who is objective when times are tough is always a good idea. ☺
Stefanie Pisarkiewicz an Associate Counselor at Sandhill Counseling and Consultation. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and received her Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Lindenwood University in 2008. Stefanie provides individual and family therapy for adolescents and teenagers, specializing in anger management and self-esteem building. In addition, Stefanie helps clients address issues that include, but are not limited to, identity, anxiety, depression, grief /loss, life transitions, communication, and conflict resolution. Stefanie is devoted to assisting clients use their own strengths to overcome life’s challenges. She is dedicated to helping youth realize their own potential.