by Jennifer Shakeel
One of the toughest job requirements of parents is learning how to let your child grow up and be their own person. I say this to you as a parent struggling with this very issue right now. Our teenager is almost 15, starting High School and has morphed into this person we aren’t all the sure we like. (Smile and wink here.) It seems as though it happened overnight. One minute she was this perfect young lady who wanted nothing more than to cuddle with her dad each night watching their favorite show and do all she could to be just like me throughout the day. When I say overnight I am really not being facetious here.
So I wanted to offer every parent out there tips that my husband and I are using to cope with the growing pains we are experiencing in letting go, just a little.
Parenting Tip One: Realize that tomorrow it will be Different
We all remember what it was like to be a teenager. One day the latest pop singer was the person we dreamed about and tried to emulate… and the “next day” we had moved onto the skater guy that sits across from us in Math class that happened to smile at us yesterday. Part of the morphing experience I call it, is that our children are trying to discover who they are outside of us. What they like and what they don’t. It is a learning process that they need to go through.
Parenting Tip Two: Take a deep breath before you comment on the clothes
Now, as long as they are not baring all that they own, let them wear what makes them happy. If you want to use the stipulation that we use “This is what you will wear when you are out in public with us,” so be it. Compromise because you don’t want them to sneak things behind your back. And they will, no matter how wonderful your child is, they will if you stifle them to the point that they have no freedom.
Tip Three: Master the Art of Compromise
If it is a tattoo or a piercing… opt for simple henna tattoos because it isn’t permanent. If they want the skinny leg jeans and the holey top… tell them they can have one or the other if they buy normal pants or shirt also. Come on… do you wear the polyster stuff your grandmother tried to buy for you when you were a teenager? I didn’t think so.
Parenting Tip Four: Hair grows back.
This one just makes me laugh only because our oldest daughter has changed her hair color so many times I am not sure we know what the original color is anymore and our son believes that football season means mohawk season. Look, their hair will grow back and you can even find a hair color that closely mimic the color you believe your child should have.
Parenting Tip Five: Will it matter tomorrow?
Does it really impact the rest of their life if you let them listen to Escape the Fate (to me sounds like a bunch of screaming) over the Jonas Brothers? Not really. We all grew out of New Kids on the Block and Poison… so will our sons and daughters. I turned out pretty okay for being a New Kids fan and a Michael Jackson and Prince fan. Yes my friends from highschool tease me… but hey, do you want to rob your child of this future embarrassment?
Parenting Tip Six: Remember you were that age to
All too often parents forget that at one time they were the same age as their kids. Sure you may have been different, liked different things, acted a different way… but you were that age before. Try to remember what you were going through on the inside when you were a teenager. If need be, be thankful they aren’t doing some of the things you did and got away with. (wink)
Parenting Tip Seven: Tell them you love them
Your child will never get to the point that they do not need to hear you tell them you love them. Hug them when you get the chance and tell them how proud of them you are. If you really want your child to know that you love them… you need to tell them every once in a while. When your teen walks up to you and says “Can I have a hug,” stop what you are doing and hug them… kiss their forehead and tell them you love them.
May my children grow and never doubt how much I love them. I may not always like what they are doing or wearing… I do remember going through similar things. If they can be patient with me… I can be patient with them.
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