My kids are 11 and 13. In 10 years time what will I wish I'd done more/less of?

(55 Posts)
quandry Tue 04-Jun-13 22:09:57

With my youngest about to start senior school in September, I'm suddenly feeling a bit sad that the 'little children' days are over. There are all sorts of things that I wish I'd done more of, or done differently.

I just wondered what those 'things' will be in the next 10 years?
By the time they've grown up and left home, what will I wish we'd done more of while they were still here, even as grumpy teenagers?

I's really appreciate the collective Mumsnet benefit of experience and hindsight smile...
If you're past this stage, please give me your advice!

Notnowcato Wed 05-Jun-13 16:57:27

Not able to advise as my oldest in Yr 5. But I'll be seeing what everyone thinks.

GoblinGranny Wed 05-Jun-13 17:18:55

More choosing the battles you have carefully, and letting the small stuff go.
More listening to them and less dictating, they are becoming their own individuals, with interests and opinions that don't reflect yours.
More including basic tasks and responsibilities in the house as a normal thing, rather than ending up complaining that 'they never do anything to help'

ToTiredToBeWitty Wed 05-Jun-13 17:22:19

There are all sorts of things that I wish I'd done more of, or done differently

What are these? For those of us who still have small ones

17 and 15 here, so not 10 years older.
Be there for them. I think they still need you but in different ways. Not all teenagers are grumpy by the way, they can be great company.

Family routines still work, having special meals together, holidays,
Always be ready to talk even if it's inconvenient.
Find something you can watch together on tv.
There was a (controversial) thread a while ago about whether older children still benefited from having SAHM, or something to that effect.

GoblinGranny Wed 05-Jun-13 17:24:31

What do you want them to have as memories of being a teenager?

YoniBottsBumgina Wed 05-Jun-13 17:26:31

Ooh yes I want to know what you wish you'd done more if with primary aged children.

I don't have any older children but as a teenager I really appreciated getting to spend one on one time with my mum/dad.

GoblinGranny Wed 05-Jun-13 17:41:27

Mine are now 18 and 22.
Yes to separate time with each, even to the extent of going away for a long weekend with just one. They are very different.

qme Wed 05-Jun-13 17:44:27

spend more time with each individually, like half a day one parent takes one child soemwhere and has time to spend time in a relaxed atmosphere

bigTillyMint Wed 05-Jun-13 17:45:00

GoblinGranny, great advice! Mine are 12 and 13, so watching with interest.

I love the idea of going away with one at a time - would be so easy with DD, but I think DS would die of boredom stuck with me for a whole weekend - a day maybe!

BeauNidle Wed 05-Jun-13 17:45:59

Always give them plenty of time to vent teenage angst.
As with goblin, spend time with each individually.
Let alot of the smaller stuff go,
Eat together every day. (when they are home!)

GoblinGranny Wed 05-Jun-13 17:46:41

When DS and I are together, we do things linked to his interests.
Fortunately I like Medieval history.

MortifiedAdams Wed 05-Jun-13 17:47:05

Stop nagging them to get out of bed on days when they dont need to be up early. Teens are growing both physically and enotionally and need thw downtime that sleep (even in the day) provides. My DM spent years harrassing ne to be up by 9 and then would winge that I was getting under her feet. She admits now that I needed the sleep and she shoud have just left me be.

ggirl Wed 05-Jun-13 17:49:11

I wish I hadn't worried about my daughters shyness and apologised for it.
She's a confident 21 yr old now.

mum47 Wed 05-Jun-13 17:49:37

Great post Goblin. Mine are 11 and 13 too, 12 and 14 later this year, so watching with interest.

I agree about less dictating, more listening, as it is easy to forget that they are growing up and to still treat them like you do when they are younger. I know I am guilty of this.

bigTillyMint Wed 05-Jun-13 17:49:55

GG, DS loves sports. Particularly footy. Not my forteblush

lljkk Netherlands Wed 05-Jun-13 17:49:56

I think at this age they tell you what they are doing & you facilitate. Days of getting them to share your every past-time are over.
So my biggest advice is don't sweat the small stuff, and don't be surprised they are off developing their own lives.

GoblinGranny Wed 05-Jun-13 18:03:24

I think that you are all brilliant, thinking about it now as something to consider over the next few years.

monikar Wed 05-Jun-13 18:29:04

DD is 17.

I would say listen, be there for them when they need you and take a back seat when they don't.

Really listen to their opinions on things, it strengthens your relationship with them. It is great to see them developing into independent adults - when they are little they are more an extension of you but this changes as the teenage years progress.

Be prepared for them to have a separate life from you - this is normal, but it takes some adjustment.

In the later teenage years when boyfriends/going out/parties come into the picture, they may tell you some really shocking things. Never judge, never appear shocked and try to keep a neutral expression during these conversations even if inside you are thinking omg. It's a real test.

And finally, I agree with other posters, don't sweat the small stuff. The teenage years fly by.

quandry Thu 06-Jun-13 20:42:44

Oh, these are so helpful - thank you!

I can see already that I need to let DS1 (13) have his own space, and a bit of private life, although I'm finding that hard, as we've always been a close family.

For those who asked what I wish I'd done more of when they were younger, I think a lot of it is about being more spontaneous, and doing simple things together, rather than over-planning things blush.
DH and are both quite organised, and probably a bit controlling, and we've always planned trips out to special places etc. But recently, when we were chatting to the kids about favourite holidays etc, the sorts of things they seemed to remember most fondly were the unplanned, and the unexpected things - getting caught outdoors in a thunderstorm and getting drenched, or arriving somewhere in the middle of the night because the car broke down.
I sometimes feel I spent all their chiildhood organising and trying to keep 'control', whereas a bit of chaos could have been fun!

Sparklingbrook Thu 06-Jun-13 20:47:02

I am with you quandry DSs 13 and 11. Sometimes I want to start all over again now I know what I am doing.

YY to the chaos. I was too busy planning the activities to have chaos and spontaneous things. sad

I feel DS1 (13) is slowly leaving me too.

quandry Thu 06-Jun-13 21:09:51

aww, SparkingBrook... a kindred spirit!

I've never been very comfortable being one of those loads-of-kids-in-the-house-yes-you-can-stay-unexpectedly-here's-a-sleeping-bag sort of mum, and I feel a bit bad about it sad.

Sparklingbrook Thu 06-Jun-13 21:21:17

Me neither quandry, and I feel bad about it too. I have never had a sleepover and yet both of mine have been to them. blush

burberryqueen Thu 06-Jun-13 21:23:44

it is harder to do things together as they get older but i agree unplanned things are great - the other night we went to the beach and made a fire of driftwood and cooked fish in foil parcels in the ashes and ate fish sandwiches and watched the sun go down, it was amazing and the best thing we had done together for ages.

ohforfoxsake Thu 06-Jun-13 21:25:08

Great thread, reading with interest (and making notes) smile

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