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to wonder how you "naturally"; parent a teenager?

(41 Posts)
bluecheeseforbreakfast Tue 10-Dec-13 22:29:35

I'd like to avoid defining myself as any specific type of parent but if I needed to categorise my parenting style it would be natural or attachment parenting. We co-sleep, full term breastfeed, use slings, avoid plastic noisy flashing toys have mostly done baby led weaning, I often feel happy with the choice that feels the most natural or instinctive.

What I don't know is when should this stop? I would imagine a teenagers "natural" instinct would be to move into a cave at the bottom of the garden with the girl next door.

I see it as breastfeeding your toddler because it's what nature intended is fine, allowing your 13 year old to procreate because that is what nature intended is not so ok. But where is the cut off point when we have to encourage our kids to live in 2013 and not 1013bc?

ZombiePenguin Wed 11-Dec-13 17:05:03

Remember teens are all different.

And that they are changing. And often are struggling. My 14yo has depression (and 'self-medicated' a few times, before we discovered it and got actual help from CAMHS) and I parent him by getting through the day. If he shouts at you, then at least he's communicating. The holes in the walls can be covered with a poster, but the damage left by not standing by him when he needed us to support him would have always stayed with him.

So don't go in expecting the best or the worst. Go with the flow. If you have a fairly average teen, choose your battles. Yes, clothes on the floor is messy. But don't make an argument out of it unless it is really necessary (and imo, a floordrobe isn't the end of the world). Don't dig too deep with their emotions. Be open for them to talk to you. If they don't talk to you, that is their choice.

thebody Wed 11-Dec-13 11:19:26

oh don't forget to touch them. sounds wierd but a quick oat in the hand, a back rub, just a pat on the back especially after a row and make up.

they still need that even if you actually feel like punching them. keep calm, keep your temper. grin

pigletmania Wed 11-Dec-13 09:59:35

It's te hormones and various complex changes going on in their brains which stand tem out from young children. They are also physically bigger and stronger, so no parenting teens is different to children

SatinSandals Wed 11-Dec-13 08:28:54

It is a good argument against smacking, it is useless if that was your mode of discipline. They need to have sorted out self discipline and self control. If you were over controlling and did it for them e.g. banned certain foods, expected them to think a certain way, supervised every activity etc it will all come unstuck in teenage years.

thebody Wed 11-Dec-13 08:25:21

oh if you relied on smacking and shouting to control your young children then you are in trouble with teens.

remind yourself how much you really do love them!

remember how you were at that age. grin wine helps!

SatinSandals Wed 11-Dec-13 08:25:00

You need the sense of humour.
You need to have done the ground work when younger and have the firm boundaries - that is not to say that they won't test them!
You do have to drop your theories and parent according to the personality. I agree with thebody. Mine have come through and are very pleasant on the other side, they even come out with things you never thought they would and ask my advice!

greenfolder Wed 11-Dec-13 08:10:57

You realise that each child is different and requires different parenting. You realise that you can't physically make them do anything. You drink more. They become sensible all of a sudden at 16. You no longer judge other parents of teens. Its nice when it stops

thebody Wed 11-Dec-13 07:57:35

teenagers are no more a homogenous group than middle aged or toddlers.

each had their own personality so needs parenting differently while keeping it fair. some just get through life easily while others struggle.

firm boundaries in toddler years are a good start, I shudder when parents tell their child to stop doing something and is ignored. not good.

you are in charge and they need to feel that you are to feel safe.

I have 2 grown up now and 2 teens. actually all have been ok so far, but that's not my good parenting it's a huge slice of luck as well.

oh keep a sense of humour if you can.

comingintomyown Wed 11-Dec-13 07:55:53

My DC are 14 and 17 and this past 6 months has been the hardest time as a parent bar none

I don't really have much control as such over them and so I am reliant on them behaving in a way I would like because they want to. For instance bar the usual kind of sanctions DD has been a constant PIA through the first 3 years of secondary school driving me nuts. She decided herself at the start of this academic year she wanted to be "good" at school. Since then not a peep of trouble and really good grades.

I think the other thing that is hard is that when a toddler is naughty it involves something like a broken toy whereas when a teen is naughty it can involve drugs or a policeman at your door which is far more stressful

So how you naturally parent a teenager I have no idea I am just hoping we all make it through in one piece !

kungfupannda Wed 11-Dec-13 07:34:17

I am not looking forward to finding out about all of this. I can't work out which of the 2 DSs I think is going to be the biggest cause of grey hairs.

DS1 (4) is the shouter and arm-waver who never listens to a word anyone says and then claims we never told him.

DS(2) (nearly 2) is the quieter one, who has a very devious little smirk that tells me he is silently planning trouble.

Half the time, DS1 is distracting me with noise and arm-waving, while DS2 is up to a whole heap of no good.

If they team up when they hit the teenage years, I am completely sunk...

17leftfeet Wed 11-Dec-13 07:32:19

Dd is an odd one, massive social conscience but treats those closer to home with contempt and distain

She rejects cuddles and kindness and demands things in a selfish way

But we see flashes of the independent, strong, confident woman she is going to be and it's my job to shape and encourage that

The biggest thing that I try and do is accept the fact that there will be arguments and not try and shy away from them, but when they are done they are done and we move on
It's very easy to dole out punishments mid argument but they are then generally over the top and impossible to enforce which creates resentment on both sides

It's also easy to only see the bad but I can also see that my dd is an excellent friend, kind and considerate to others at school, works hard and has a fantastic knowledge which she applies so we can sit and watch something and have an interesting and relevant discussion about it

At those times I can see we will get through the teenage years

My dad has a theory that teenagers will fight against you and move away emotionally but if you remain consistent and they know they are loved, they will come back to you eventually

SatinSandals Wed 11-Dec-13 07:28:29

Sorry 'use' not us.

SatinSandals Wed 11-Dec-13 07:27:59

Some do suddenly change but not in 13th birthday! However the change can be overnight.
I hate defined parenting styles, I think people still us them. Consensus parenting is a term that irks me and people use about teenagers.
Babies are a doddle in comparison! ( generally speaking)

DoesntLeftoverTurkeySoupDragOn Wed 11-Dec-13 07:22:16

You can't "naturally" parent a teenager

Well, you can but it is frowned upon in today's society. I believe that, in the animal kingdom, it is natural to expel the teenagers from the family group to fend for themselves. smile

bluecheeseforbreakfast Wed 11-Dec-13 07:21:36

Thanks for the fantastic advice! It seems there is no fail safe plan to having a happy cooperative teenager.

Babies seem so easy in comparison, I have been given so much help and advice, groups and courses when really baby care is just baby's crying-pick it up, baby has done a poo-clean its bum, give the baby food regularly, don't let the baby play with knives. Teenagers seem so much more complex!

MoominsYonisAreScary Wed 11-Dec-13 07:18:43

Agree with Maryz. Ds1 was hard work for a few years, he didnt care about punishments, would just walk out the door if he felt like it. There is no way you can keep an angry 6 foot odd teenager in the house if they dont want to be. He had attitude ++ but luckily we came through the other side fairly unscathed.

LineRunner Wed 11-Dec-13 07:13:19

You give them unconditional love, boundaries, and money.

And cross your fingers.

nooka Wed 11-Dec-13 07:09:12

The earlier poster didn't say that there was no change, just that there was no sudden change (like Kevin's 13th birthday transformation). My teens are 13 and 14 so relatively recent, and I've not as yet seen anything suddenly different or out of character.

That's not to say that they aren't typical teens, they are in lots of ways, just that their behaviour isn't surprising given their characters. ds is often stroppy, combative and unreasonable, but then he always has been inclined that way. dd is mostly messy and emotional, with sudden flashes of temper and again none of this is really that new.

Some of the difference is that whereas when they were small it was easier to ignore the tantrums and messes, now they are as big as me it feels a bit different, both harder and easier.

I can't really answer the OP as although I've parented, and continue to parent in a style that suits me, and is relatively instinctive I don't think it's very similar to her style. Not sure whether there are defined parenting styles past babyhood though.

SatinSandals Wed 11-Dec-13 06:49:37

Teenagers are very quick to see through you if you are not 'yourself'.

SatinSandals Wed 11-Dec-13 06:48:41

I love the way that it was said earlier that they don't change! Some don't , some do. It is personality and nothing to do with your parenting.
I think that it is good that you have to respond to the child that you have by that age and you can't get away with having a philosophy and making your child fit it, the way that you can with a baby and toddler.
I hate all these labels and you really have to let them go by teenage years and just be yourself, who happens to be a parent.

Shonajoy Wed 11-Dec-13 05:57:36

I found my two teens to be hard work until they hit 17-18. Now they're actually helpful, and are nearly 20 and 18. We are cool about boyfriend staying over, friends staying over, and don't embarrass them, so long as they do the bit during the week, ie dishwasher, tidy rooms, buy milk if they use it all. They get give and take much more easily.

mathanxiety Wed 11-Dec-13 05:02:08

That wasn't meant to be sarcastic [sorry]

I really believe in keeping on talking and listening and being interested in them and sharing something of what interests you, and having children contribute around the house in a consistent way. At best you will end up with children who have confidence and a sense of responsibility. At worst, you end up with chores done by surly 13 year olds and an atmosphere you could cut with a knife. They are all individuals and some just won't play your game. You develop your own little zen bubble and you miss them when they're gone <sniff>

mathanxiety Wed 11-Dec-13 04:19:58

Yes, it is responsibility. And being yourself and sharing that in a way that doesn't embarrass them [difficult]. It is also about recognising their changing needs as they grow older. They do not need the attachment parenting that you practiced when they were babies and small children because they are no longer babies or small children.

You start at about age 8 (no later than 12) and do chores with them around the house in a pleasant way, teach them to cook, clean up the kitchen, keep their rooms clean, beds made, etc., do their laundry and keep the bathroom pleasant and you consistently check that their chores are done. If problems arise you try to talk with them about why things are not being done and ask them to come up with solutions. You turn them into people who see themselves as part of a team because they need to feel they are valued members of a team, and you praise them for their contribution. And you might get one who doesn't turn your hair grey.

They are their own people and if they weren't you would not be doing your job properly.

claraschu Wed 11-Dec-13 03:35:17

Yes to Maryz.

Also, as they become teenagers, they have to deal with the outside world. This affects different children very differently. What I find most difficult is dealing with their lies, secrecy and deviousness. Some are secretive about the fact that they are bullied for being clever; some are secretive about smoking and having sex.
Some are considerate and reasonable.

Twelve years of being the kind of wonderful parent you are, OP, will probably mean that at least one child will be easy, open and happy, but you don't have any guarantees. It is a minefield, but I guess with hindsight, I would have checked up more and been less trusting.

BitOfFunWithSanta Wed 11-Dec-13 03:25:52

You can naturally parent in the sense that you just be yourself, rather than come over all authoritarian or uncomfortably 'cool'.

You can say, for example, that you'd think you should do xyz, but you are you, and can't, and can they help you see a way forward?

Treat them with respect, and collaborate, and it might just work.

I've only had one, mind.

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