When I started blogging, Munchkin was only nine years old. From early on, many of the articles I wrote were about her and what it was like raising a young girl. There were many mom/family blogs at that time that revolved around young children. But, I did wonder why few talked about what happened during the teen years. Why didn’t people talk about life with older children? Why do bloggers seem to stop talking about their kids when they became teenagers? With an almost 16-year-old in the house, now I know why it’s so hard to talk about parenting teens.
Parenting Teens — Changing Stories
As my daughter got older, the concerns and issues we started to face with her as a family were different. It was no longer about park playdates, day trip picnics, or simple homeschool crafts. When she hit puberty, we had to deal with the physical, mental, and emotional changes adolescence brings. We also had more frustrations as she tested limits and made more decisions herself. She was more self-conscious and I had to think about how things would affect her current and future reputation.
Though I could generalize some things, I had to draw a line. It became clear that sharing too much would be an invasion of privacy and that these stories were not just mine to tell. How could I share such personal matters that would embarrass or even scar her? It would be wrong to expose tiny details of her development or make light of juvenile mistakes. Even as adults, we don’t tell people every little thing about ourselves.
Parenting Teens — Family Dynamics
There’s also the matter of how family life has changed on my end and that of my husband. When we face difficulties, it’s all too easy to regret or question the parenting decisions we’ve made thus far. This child we raised from an infant is now walking on her own two feet and will soon be a full-fledged adult. Did we teach her enough? Did we prepare her well? Were we too strict or did we give her too much freedom? Did we spend enough time with her when we could? Have we make good decisions or should we have done things differently? What should we do now? Questions like these swirl around our heads daily. They cause uneasiness and frustration.
So why is it so hard to find personal stories about raising teenagers? Mostly because it is such a sensitive time in their lives. If this time is ever talked about, it’s when the teenagers themselves have grown up and decided to share the stories that now belong to them, and them only.
My daughter is only part-way through her teenage years so we still have several years left of navigating this sensitive time. While I can’t tell you everything, there are some suggestions I can offer. Be patient, listen well, mind your temper, stay consistent, and don’t give up on them. These key factors will help you get through this together. At least, that’s what I’m hoping as we face the next few years.