Tweens Pre Teens

Teens enjoy pushing your buttons. It is a rite of passage while learning independence. It seems they argue with you on one side of a debate today and tomorrow they are arguing the points on the other side. We think once they get out of the “Why stage” of being two year olds, we are home free. No, they turn into teens and the “why stage” becomes louder and more demanding. We quickly learn they do not want our answers to the why or why not questions. They just want to beat us down into submission.

Battling with teens is a workout like no other. It will leave you exhausted especially if you are determined to micromanage and analyze each and every situation that arises. You have to learn to pick your battles. Quit sweating all the small stuff your teen drops on your lap and shoulders. Only wage war when their safety is the main issue. Let the too baggy pants and crazy earrings roll off your back. Hair cannot grow that long on your son before the style changes. So he dresses and looks like a homeless child, as long as he is safe, feed, and comes home at night the hair is not worth fighting over. Your daughter thinks coats in the winter are dorky. The first time her school has a fire drill in zero degree temperatures, she may decide the color blue is even more dorky.

Teens feel like they are adults. They demand to be treated as such even when they are screaming at you for not washing their jeans they left in the bottom of their closet. They learn new phrases such as “not fair” or “I am the only one in my school that can’t stay out past midnight”. They make you sentimental for the terrible twos again.

Sit them down often and go over your unchanging rules. Set a curfew and stick with it. Be clear on what the circumstances will be if they break the rules and stick with this also. Don’t just threaten grounding, lay it out beforehand. If you miss curfew, you will have your social life disrupted for two weeks. Your friends may get to stay out until midnight, but you cannot. If this is going to embarrass you, then maybe you may just stay at home all evening.

Be open to their feelings but do not be manipulated. Let them know you are not going to fight with them, period. If they want to discuss something with you such as a new curfew time or getting a tattoo, then you are open to discussion if they can discuss it in an adult like manner. You never want to lose communication.

Teen years are when compromise comes in handy. I will not fuss about your long hair as long as you keep it clean. I will not enter your room without knocking as long as you do not lock your door. I will allow you to stay out until 11pm, if you will call at 10pm. I will raise your allowance if you will mow the grass each week without me reminding you.

Nagging your teen about every little infraction will create a never ending series of battles that are not healthy for you or your teen. Be firm, be brave, set down rules and guidelines then allow your teen enough space to follow them. Praise them often for the smart choices they make. Remember as long as your teen is safe and healthy, you are winning the war.